Asda Price | Claims that £500 will be taken off thousands of staff

Claims that £500 will be taken off thousands of staff

An MP has claimed that thousands of staff will be out of pocket by £500 or more after ASDA proposed changes to employee contracts that will end paid breaks.

Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden, claims in a letter to ASDA Chief Executive Roger Burley that affected staff were likely to be half a grand worse off.

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The supermarket is currently in consultation over plans to simplify hourly pay for workers and offer flexible working options.

Dan [11:35 AM]

McDonagh has a large Asda supermarket in her constituency. She wrote: “For these staff, £500+ is a huge amount of money and would have a significant impact on their livelihoods.

“I welcome any increase in basic hourly pay – but this must not be used to disguise a significant pay cut for 3,000 of your most longstanding staff.”

Proposals also include cutting the length of a night shift and increasing basic rate of pay to nine pounds.

GMB Union which represents Asda employees, has raised concerns over the changes.

Is this a better deal for staff?

Asda claims 95% of its staff will be better off under the new deal which includes flexible working options.

The supermarket said it was "maintaining its commitment not to use zero hours contracts and colleagues will be guaranteed minimum hours".

They continued: "The new contract will require colleagues to be flexible [and] fair . . . reasonable notice will be given for any changes to rotas and consideration will be given to those with care requirements outside of work."

Speaking to the BBC, Katherine Chapman, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, welcomed the changes at Britain’s third-largest supermarket chain: “This is a welcome pay rise for Asda's staff, however, large national retailers like Ikea, Lush and Majestic Wine are already paying all their staff - including third party contractors - the real Living Wage or above at £8.45 in the UK and £9.75 in London for every hour worked.”

Amanda Powell Smith, CEO at Forster Communications, believes that the flexible working hours will benefit both businesses and the staff they employ.

She said: “Flexible working needs to be recognised as a massive opportunity for both employer and employee [especially] with workers who stay into their 60s and 70s as the norm, challenging current preconceptions and forcing new ways of working.”

Michael Hibbs, Employment Law Partner at Shakespeare Martineau, also offered his opinions on Asda’s introduction of a new flexible contract.

He said: “This could be the new model for the sector. Adopting a flexible approach to contracts, such as zero-hour contract, has previously come with the stigma of being unfair on the employee. It is likely that this type of flexible contract will not suit everyone; however, the voluntary nature of the arrangement at this stage will give employees the option. However, whether Asda will put some gentle pressure on employees is of course not clear at this stage."

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