Asda workers in Portsmouth area protest 'bullying' pay change

STAFF from Asda supermarkets have protested outside a store over new contract and pay proposals.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 6:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 7:21 pm
(l-r) Elsie Worrall has worked at Asda in Fratton for two and a half years, Jean Foster, Asda worker and national shop steward for the GMB and Jeffery Hector, has been a baker at Asda in Fratton since 2001. Picture: Sarah Standing (050919-4912)

Members of the GMB union staged the event outside the store in Somers Road North, Fratton, as the major chain is asking staff to take on mandatory bank holiday shifts and shift patterns changing every month.

The supermarket is working to move all staff on to the contract, known as contract six.

A letter from the supermarket’s head office said staff would be dismissed if they had not signed the new contract by November 2, leaving staff members feeling ‘intimidated’ by the notice.

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(front l-r) Jean Foster, Asda worker and national shop steward for the GMB with Adrian Baker, organiser og the GMB Union Southern Region. Picture: Sarah Standing (050919-4867)

Hayley Colwell, who has worked as a security guard at the Fratton store for more than 17 years, said it would be ‘impossible’ for her to work under the new conditions and care for her disabled son.

The mum-of-two said: ‘My 10-year old son has issues with his eyesight and has learning difficulties.

‘I would have to work bank holidays or use holiday to take those days off - and my husband has to work bank holidays.

‘We would be looking at childcare costing £40 an hour for a child with additional needs - and I earn less than £50 a day.’

The Portsmouth resident signed up to a new shift pattern two years ago, giving her the flexibility to care for her children.

More than 20 workers at the Fratton store have refused to sign up to Asda’s latest terms, according to baker Jeff Hector.

He said: ‘Management have really been forcing the issue.

‘I’ve had a manger tell me if you do not sign the contract you will be out of the business.’

Julie Miller, who has worked night shifts for more than 30 years at the Havant store, in Larchwood Avenue, said a manger had joked about ‘booting her out the door’ should she refuse Asda’s new policy.

She said: ‘It’s intimidation.’

A spokesman from Asda said: ‘The contract will make 95 per cent of our colleagues financially better off.

‘This consultation is ongoing and we will always have conversations about change with our colleagues first.’