Asda has offered its workers a pay rise on the condition that they sign a new “flexible“ contract which will introduce a requirement to be available to work during bank holidays and unpaid lunch breaks.
The supermarket group will pay those workers who sign the new ‘flexible’ contract £8.50 an hour from October this year, above the current wage of £7.44 and more than the £7.50 National Living Wage rate due to come into force in April.
Asda’s general secretary, Tim Roache, said:
“These new flexible contracts will help to ensure job security, ensure those accepting them are on the same terms and – best of all – ensure that people will earn more money as a result.
“The new contract offer involves quite a few changes, but as it’s voluntary, this allows colleagues to choose whatever suits their circumstances best.”
The new contract is voluntary and means that Asda’s 135,000 staff can work around the store, on different days and hours.
Employees who do opt into the new contract will be expected to work on bank holidays if the store needs them to, and any bank holiday absences must come out of their 28 days of annual leave.
Additionally, all breaks will be unpaid and Asda will alter its night shift window.
The supermarket giant predicts that 95 per cent of current employees will be better off if they move to the new deal. The new contracts have been given the seal of approval by the GMB union.
If they chose not to take up the new contract, their base rate will move up to the minimum national rate of £7.50 an hour in April and they will retain their existing contract.
However, Living Wage Foundation, which campaigns for pay levels based on the cost of living, said that Asda should go further.
“This is a welcome pay rise for Asda’s staff, however large national retailers like Ikea, Lush and Majestic Wine are already paying all their staff – including third party contractors – the real Living Wage or above at £8.45 in the UK and £9.75 in London for every hour worked,” said Katherine Chapman, director of Living Wage Foundation.
“By signing up with the Living Wage Foundation they are ensuring that all their staff will have a pay rise that meets the rising cost of living year on year,” she said.