Union bosses are gunning for Asda after claiming that the number of complaints they are receiving from angry workers at the retailer is on the rise.
GMB is balloting its members in stores and depots for views on the lack of bonus payments to about 70% of workers this year and the chain’s refusal to negotiate with the GMB union on pay and conditions.
The GMB claims that distribution workers are furious they are to get no bonus because of Asda’s failure to achieve its total sales target.
GMB officer for Asda Giovanna Holt said: “Despite hitting all of their own targets, distribution workers will not be getting any bonus - it has totally demotivated the workforce in distribution centres.”
The union was due to discuss issues with Asda’s senior management last week but the meeting was postponed.
However, demonstrations by union representatives brandishing ‘Stop Asda pocketing the bonus difference’ placards outside Asda’s Clapham Junction
store in London went ahead.
The demonstration was aimed at bolstering the GMB’s recruitment drive as the union pushes to get a mandate for national bargaining rights at Asda. Picking rates for workers at distribution centres and in health and safety are also under scrutiny from the GMB and pay rates for 20% of shop floor staff are under fire as the £5.10 per hour is only 5p above the national minimum wage.
However, Asda pointed out that bonuses were only an extra for workers if targets were achieved and that workers had chosen to stay on the lower rate as they got a premium of £7.65 for Sunday shifts.
An Asda spokesman said that the company had a strong record of good employee relations and had been voted for numerous prestigious awards by its workers.
The GMB also demonstrated outside the former Safeway depot in Aylesford, Kent, this week in response to Morrisons’ delay in paying out redundancy payments to 160 drivers made redundant on January 15.
Morrisons admitted that a small number of payments were taking longer to process than expected and apologised.
Fiona McLelland