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Asda latest supermarket to face strike threat over pay

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Written by: Emma Lunn
08/12/2021
Asda faces potential industrial action after a union announced plans to ballot workers over the supermarket’s failure to ‘make a meaningful pay offer’.

GMB Union says that with inflation “rampant”, the situation was a “kick in the teeth” for Asda workers who worked throughout the pandemic. The union’s ballot for strike action closes on 20 December.

GMB said that in 2020 Asda’s directors pocketed £12.6m in pay and share based payments – a whopping 30% increase on the previous year. Meanwhile the company turned an operating profit of £486m in the year to 31 December 2020.

ASDA and GMB are currently locked in a long-running equal pay claim on behalf of 40,000 Asda workers over whether the predominantly female shop floor workforce deserves equal pay to that of those in the distribution centre.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “Asda workers turned up throughout the covid pandemic risking their lives to keep the nation fed – as well as helping the company turn a profit of almost £500m.

“Staff who saw colleagues lose their lives to covid are not having their legitimate demands for a pay rise treated seriously. Asda now say GMB members pay claim is ‘unaffordable’ and yet their hard work and sacrifice helped directors trouser almost £10m between them.

“It’s a disgrace – we urge Asda workers to fight for what they deserve and vote YES for a ballot for industrial action.”

An Asda spokesperson said: “The GMB has recently made an additional pay claim on top of a two-year deal which was agreed with them in May. As our annual pay negotiations have just begun and discussions are ongoing, any talk of industrial action is premature. We had previously responded to the driver shortage by offering all of our existing HGV drivers a £1000 one-off discretionary incentive retention payment.”

Earlier this week it was announced that warehouse workers and HGV drivers at Tesco will take part in a number of strikes organised by Unite.

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