Betts Challenges Asda Price

Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] has written to the Chief Executive of ASDA calling on him to re-think his proposals for new contracts which would see at least 3000 of ASDA’s retail staff see their wages cut.

The letter, signed by many MPs, says that ASDA’s proposals would not only have a detrimental impact on earnings, but would also put staff on more flexible contracts with shift patterns becoming irregular and unpredictable. This would badly impact on those staff reliant on care or childcare.

Clive Betts said today:

“ASDA prided itself on its ‘ASDA Price’ adverts.

It now appears that ASDA wants its longstanding and hardworking retail staff to pay the price for boosting already-big salaries for its directors and for paying increased profits to its shareholders.”

Clive Betts continued:

“ASDA has recently spent many millions of pounds on its negotiations with Sainsbury about a merger which was blocked by the competition authorities last week.

Sainsbury has already admitted that its costs on this ill-advised venture were £43 million. ASDA seem to want to make its staff pay the price for this strategic failure.

That’s why I’m asking ASDA to think again.”

Letter to ASDA Chief Executive:

Mr Roger Burnley

Chief Executive, ASDA

ASDA House

Southbank

Great Wilson Street

Leeds

LS11 5AD

3rd May 2019

Dear Mr Burnley

Taking home a fair wage should be the very least that your longstanding and hardworking employees deserve. That’s why we are so appalled that unscrupulous contract changes at ASDA will result in 3,000 of your staff facing a pay cut under the guise of an increase in their basic pay.

We understand that ASDA are proposing to move all hourly-paid retail staff to a new contract. We warmly welcome the pay rise that some of your employees will receive under these proposed changes. However, we are utterly appalled that this is to the detriment of 3,000 of your staff who are set to see their wages slashed. We are completely dismayed that a company of your reputation would use an increase in basic pay as a smokescreen to cut the pay of so many of your most longstanding staff.

Under the proposed changes, all employees will lose their paid breaks and the night shift will be shortened from 22:00 – 06:00 to the hours of 00:00 – 05:00. Why do the hours either side of this window not constitute the night shift, given that they fall during the night?

Furthermore, the proposed changes would move employees to more flexible contracts whereby their shift patterns will become irregular and unpredictable. Though some staff will welcome this more flexible approach to working, a structured shift pattern is simply non-negotiable for those staff reliant on care or childcare.

Staff who have given decades of loyalty to your organisation describe the anger, sadness and frustration at how they are being treated with several indicating that they could lose thousands of pounds per year. If they do not sign the new contracts, then they will be forced to resign.

Any pay rise should be welcomed, but it must not be used to disguise a significant pay cut for 3,000 of your most longstanding staff. We encourage you to ensure that no ASDA employee receives a pay cut under these proposals and we hope that you show to them a fraction of the loyalty that they have shown to you.

We hope that ASDA engages seriously and cooperatively in negotiations with the GMB throughout any upcoming consultation process and we look forward to hearing what action you have taken.

Yours Sincerely

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