Asda has offered to give its staff a pay rise ahead of the deadline for agreeing a controversial new contract that could see thousands lose their jobs.
The supermarket is increasing the hourly pay rate for staff around the UK by 18p from 1 April 2020.
Controversial contract terms
Employees currently receive a rate of £8.21 per hour, but this is set to increase to £9 from this Sunday (3 Nov).
In London, staff who receive £8.80 per hour will see their pay jump to £10.11.
This will increase to £9.18 on 1 April next year, and to £10.31 for workers in London.
The pay rise will be given to all of Asda's more than 100,000 shop floor workers across the country - although it won't apply to those who have refused to sign a controversial new “flexible” contract.
The announcement comes ahead of the deadline for the so-called 'Contract 6' this Saturday (2 Nov), which aims to simplify terms of employment across the company. Asda has said that staff who don't sign up to the new terms will see their contracts terminated this weekend.
The pay rise won't apply to staff who have refused to sign Asda's new employment contract (Photo: Shutterstock)
Reassurance for workers?
Under the new contract, workers’ paid breaks will be scrapped and working bank holidays will become compulsory, in exchange for a new £9 per hour wage.
Concerned staff have claimed that they will be £500 worse off per year under the new arrangements, and will also face giving up eight days of annual leave through the loss of bank holidays.
Unions have also warned that those with childcare commitments or second jobs will also lose out, as the new contract requires staff to work different shifts on a “flexible” basis.
However, Asda has said that staff will benefit from the changes as it means all workers will be on the same contract.
The supermarket said the announcement of the pay rise should reassure workers "despite an unpredictable economic landscape and challenging market".
Although union bosses have dubbed the move as a "smokescreen" to distract the public from the reality of the changes.
Gary Carter, GMB union national officer, told The Mirror, "Asda are using this 18p rise as smokescreen to distract from the fact they plan to sack workers this weekend unless they sign a punishing new contract.
"It is unprecedented to announce an April pay rise in October - and Asda are clearly feeling the heat of opposition to the imposition of this new contract.
"We do not yet know what inflation will be by that point, and so this could end up failing to keep pace with the cost of living."