GMB is hopeful many job losses could be avoided

Union bosses said today they were confident of “dramatically reducing” the looming job losses at Asda.

The GMB last week began a consultation with thousands of employees in 18 stores, after it emerged earlier this month that more than 3,000 Asda staff were facing a review of their roles in a move that was expected to leave 10% at risk of redundancy or reduced hours.

Asda has commissioned a review of 3,257 staff to streamline its operations, and employees at an additional 59 branches may also be moved to different areas of the store.

Following a meeting with senior management at Asda House, in Leeds, the GMB said it was hopeful many job losses could be avoided.

Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said: “This is a worrying, unsettling time for our Asda members. We appreciate the difficulties facing Asda and other retailers and we want the company to be successful, increasing employment opportunities and improving pay - not cutting jobs.

“We are at an early and delicate stage of the consultation process - which will last for at least 45 days.

“Following a meeting with Asda senior management, we are now hopeful we can dramatically reduce the number of redundancies the company makes.

“We will continue to do everything possible to fight our members’ corner and minimise any job losses.”

This week Asda returned to sales growth for the first time since 2014, with this year’s second-quarter sales excluding fuel up 1.8%.

An Asda spokesman said: “We absolutely share the ambition of the GMB. We have said that a worst-case scenario could see 10% of those jobs go and we are definitely looking to keep the numbers down as much as we can.”