Asda faces further union unrest after it announced this week that its lowest rate of pay for store staff will only be raised to meet the obligatory national minimum wage from October.
It is currently paying a basic hourly wage of £5.10 - 5p above the minimum wage. This week it told staff their pay would be increased in two stages: to £5.23 from April and then to £5.35 in October to fall in line with the national increase. GMB union spokesman Steve Pryle slammed the move as an attempt to pay the lowest amount possible.
However, Asda said it was disappointed at the union's response as the lower rate of pay only applied to 20,000 of its 130,000 store staff who chose to be on "old rates" that pay extra for weekends. "The rest of our colleagues will see their pay go up to £5.71 in October."
Union representatives were also told this week that Asda would pay staff bonuses next year if it met its profit target for 2006 of £825m - below its missed 2005 target of £850m, added Pryle.
The union met this week to discuss impending strike action over the bonus payments.