Last month Asda awarded its staff a 7.35% pay rise to be spread over the next two years

Union bosses have written to Asda’s billionaire bosses, the Issa brothers, attacking a pay rise which they warn will mean more than 120,000 supermarket staff being paid the minimum wage.

The GMB claimed Asda would effectively become a “minimum wage employer” unless it agreed to up the offer and claimed there was a “significant appetite” for industrial action among Asda store staff.

Last month Asda strongly denied claims it is forcing its staff to resort to using food banks and payday lenders, after it awarded a 7.35% pay rise to be spread over the next two years.

The GMB, with which Asda has a collective bargaining agreement within depots but not in stores, claimed the “imposed” below-inflation pay increase meant shop staff would get just 3.25%, meaning they would earn just £9.66 per hour from April.

A survey by the union found many Asda staff were borrowing money from friends and family to live and that steep rises in cost of living prices meant they could not afford to shop at Asda, with some using food banks.

Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s all pay their staff on average more than £10 an hour.

“Asda won’t allow GMB to negotiate pay for our thousands of retail members,” said GMB national officer Nadine Houghton.

“Still, it’s hard to understand why they’re happy to be the worst-paying supermarket.

“It’s also hard to accept they don’t want to protect their low-paid workers against the biggest cost of living crisis in 30 years after Asda relied on them during the pandemic.

“Based on Low Pay Commission estimates, this pay cut will make Asda a minimum wage employer next year. That’s not good for Asda and it’s certainly not good for our members.

“GMB members are angry. We will be meeting with them in the coming weeks to discuss next steps, which could include protests.

“Many of our members have also been asking us about the potential for an industrial action ballot and this is something we will consider.”

An Asda spokesman said: ”This pay offer was negotiated with Usdaw and will see colleague hourly pay increase by 7.35% over the next two years, with rates rising to £9.66 in April and to £10.06 next year. We remain the only supermarket to pay all store colleagues a bonus, worth an average of £413 this year for full time colleagues, as part of a comprehensive benefits package, which also includes 10% discount in store and online.”