Asda herbs staff

Almost 100 GMB members are said to have walked out at Asda’s Gosport store

The series of strike threats facing Asda grew today with the announcement of votes at three more stores.

Nearly 400 GMB members at the Wisbech, Brighton Hollingbury and Brighton Marina stores will vote on whether to take industrial action, the union said.

The votes follow the first-ever strike of Asda workers at the retailer’s Gosport store, where almost 100 GMB members are said to have walked out in protest at what the union claimed was a “toxic” working environment.

The new ballots will run from 16 February until 5 March, and come amid a long-running battle for official union recognition from Asda.

It said workers were angry at a series of issues including cuts in hours, poor health & safety and inadequate training, as well as the lack of collective bargaining and rights to negotiate on pay and conditions.

The GMB claims eight million hours have been lost across Asda’s workforce in the past two years alone under moves by its owners the Issa brothers.

“Asda workers are voting on strike action because they want to see a better, thriving company,” said GMB national officer Nadine Houghton. “Meanwhile, the Issa brothers and TDR Capital continue the asset stripping of Asda at pace.

“An estimated eight million hours have been cut from the shop floor in the past two years alone, reducing staff costs by up to tens of millions of pounds.

“GMB members want to know why they are being forced to do more work with fewer colleagues and worsening health & safety standards, while Mohsin Issa spends millions on mansions and private jets.

“These cuts are not something that Asda workers agreed to nor had any say in.

“That is why they are calling for proper rights for Asda’s largest trade union – GMB – to represent them.”

Asda, however, strongly disputed the GMB’s claims, pointing out that only 46 colleagues voted for industrial action at its Gosport store and only 24 actually went on strike.

“We value feedback from our colleagues and have established processes in place for them to address any concerns,” an Asda spokesman said.

“We’ve requested specific details from the GMB regarding the alleged issues in our Wisbech and Brighton stores, but have yet to receive this information. We’re also waiting for them to share details of the alleged issues they have found in the Gosport store too.

“While any potential disruption is unwelcome, we are confident this can be managed and these stores will remain open as normal for our customers. This was demonstrated recently in Gosport, where fewer than 30 colleagues participated in industrial action.”