ASDA STAFF GIVEN 'COOLING OFF PERIOD' TO SIGN NEW DEAL
Workers at supermarket giant Asda are to be given "a little longer" to agree to new contracts.
The GMB union said the deadline has been extended to November 10, saying it merely "kicks the can down the road".
The union urged Asda to lift the threat of sacking anyone not agreeing to sign the new contract, which it says would see staff lose paid breaks and have to work bank holidays.
Asda said it was giving staff "a little longer" to consider their decision following the end of their notice period.
A spokesman said: "Colleagues can still turn up to work, but anybody working after Saturday night will be doing so on the new terms, including the increased pay rate of £9 per hour, as these will be the only terms that exist in Asda.
"We have been absolutely clear throughout this process that we don't want any of our colleagues to leave us and have worked extensively with them and union representatives to understand and address any concerns.
"The overwhelming majority have chosen to move to this new contract, which represents an £80 million investment in pay for over 100,000 colleagues and ensures the same terms and conditions apply - which is fairer to all our colleagues.
"We understand people have responsibilities outside of work and we will always help them to balance these with their work life.
"Despite extensive engagement throughout this process it is disappointing that there has been some misinformation from external parties to our colleagues.
"We do not want anyone to leave due to misinformation, particularly in these challenging economic times, so once the notice period ends on Saturday, we will write to those colleagues who are still undecided - currently in the hundreds but continuing to drop - offering them the opportunity to sign up because we don't want any colleague to make a decision to leave and then regret it.
"Change is never easy, but we are determined that Asda remains a sustainable business for its customers and colleagues - now and in the future."
Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said: "This eleventh hour delay kicks the can down the road for Asda workers who are unable to sign this punishing new contract. They now face the prospect of the sack even closer to Christmas.
"Asda are clearly feeling the heat from the opposition to their behaviour but this move does not change the brutal reality facing long-serving, dedicated staff.
"Thousands of Asda workers have been forced into signing this new contract because they can't afford to lose their jobs, least of all in the run up to Christmas.
"But a seven day delay won't change the fact that people - often women workers with kids, caring responsibilities or other part-time jobs - simply can't sign up to these new terms.
"We're talking about people who have worked at Asda for decades - this is not how any employer should treat loyal, hardworking people. Asda should get back round the table to negotiate and offer a better deal to its workers."Published: by Radio NewsHub