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‘Making history’: Hundreds of GMB members demand equal pay for Asda shop workers

THE GMB union brought Bournemouth to a standstill today as 700 members marched to demand equal pay for female Asda workers – taking a life-size cutout of boss Manjit Dale along with them.

Minimum-wage shop staff hit out at being paid £2.80 less than their mainly male colleagues in distribution centres while cuts to working hours have tripled their workload.

Under the supermarket giant’s indebted private equity owners, TDR Capital, millions of hours have been slashed from the shopfloor while store workers are owed billions of pounds through their equal pay claim, GMB said.

General secretary Gary Smith said: “It’s the face of low paid, low-valued workers who are being robbed every single day of work by their employers.

“They are being cheated of pay and discriminated against because the company is not complying with equal pay legislation.”

To TDR Capital and their Asda co-owners, the billionaire Issa brothers, he added: “We are not going away: get around the table, negotiate and end the equal pay scandal.”

One female Asda worker on the march, which took place during the GMB’s national conference, said: “You see the shelves are bare because we don’t have the time to put the food on them.

“We’ve always been proud of the excellent service we’ve given our customers but we are not able to do that because it’s a constant rush to move on to the next thing.”

She added: “There’s a culture of bullying within the management. The undue pressure they put on their managers is filtering down to us.

“It’s a male-dominated world where we are not valued for the job that we do.

“Many women are reporting being degraded by male managers.“

National officer Nadine Houghton told the rally: “We just shut down Bournemouth and Asda got the message loud and clear: GMB is not going to stop organising until TDR Capital and the Issa brothers put back the hours and the time and the resources that they have stolen from our members since they took over Asda.

“We are making history alongside Amazon workers. We will be winning equal pay not just for workers in Asda, but for retail workers up and down the country.”

GMB’s equal pay claim will be heard at a Manchester employment tribunal on September 9.

An Asda spokesperson said: “We continue to defend these claims because retail and distribution are very different sectors, with their own distinct skill sets and rates of pay.

“Manjit Dale resigned from his position as TDR’s representative on Asda’s company board in December 2023.”

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