Asda workers forced to choose between caring for their families or losing their jobs, says GMB

GMB has accused Asda bosses of forcing workers to choose between caring for their families or losing their jobs in the run-up the Christmas.

The supermarket giant has told employees they must sign the so-called ‘flexible’ Contract 6 which means they will no longer be paid for any breaks and be forced to work bank holidays and weekends. If they don’t sign, they will be sacked on November 2  – exactly 12 weeks yesterday – in the run-up to Christmas.

Many GMB members have now been left with a choice – stop being able to look after their vulnerable relatives or lose their job. One Asda worker from Scotland relies on regular hours to be able to care for her disabled son and husband.

The worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “My son has a very rare disorder which means I have to do everything for him. He is emotionally attached to me so when I have to leave him to go to work he can’t cope and makes himself sick.

“My husband had an accident which left him with a neurological disorder – his mobility is poor and in constant pain. On the afternoons I work, my son goes to an out of school club as my husband isn’t able to look after him on his own.

“If Asda forces me onto Contract 6, I’m worried I will have to leave so I can look after my family.”

Other Asda workers have told GMB:

·          “My partner has mental health issues including depression and paranoia and the flexibility will affect her mental state badly. She is not good at home alone when it’s dark.

·          “I suffer with epilepsy and I don’t exactly want to suffer a seizure as a result of all the stress of the situation

·          “We have a 16-month-year old girl. I work the day shift in Asda while my wife looks after her, then I go home so she can go to work at the same Asda store at night. We hardly see each other due to our commitments at work and home.  Now we’ve received our termination notice from our Asda store – because we simply cannot be flexible.”

·          “I’ve never felt so worthless, feel used and abused. I’m losing 8 holiday days – I’ve been there 22 years and it’s like they just don’t care.”

·          “I’m a single working mum – and I would not be comfortable leaving my son alone while I worked until 10pm at night.

GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said: “Our members’ stories tell of the actual human cost of Asda forcing contract 6 on its loyal workforce.

“In the boardroom it may be all about the bottom line, but out in the Stores this is about real people’s lives being pulled apart with often devastating consequences. This is about values and reasonableness and respect for hardworking staff from a billion pound company.

“Telling dedicated workers to sign up – no matter what the consequences to their personal lives – or lose their jobs in the run up to Christmas is truly shocking.

“Enough is enough. Asda must get round the table, negotiate with GMB and stop contract 6 ruining people’s lives.”

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