Workers are facing redundancy or a cut in their working hours as the supermarket chain looks to cut costs.
Asda has begun a consultation with 3,257 employees in 18 under-performing stores, singled out as overstaffed relative to their current sales performance. The supermarket chain is also looking at staffing levels in a further 59 of its supermarkets, although at present this is an informal process. The retailer is not looking to cut jobs in these stores but wants staff to agree to work in different departments when required.
The GMB union said it had been contacted by worried Asda workers “fearing for their jobs” after new business plans were shared with store managers that included a substantial reduction in staff hours worked.
The 18 stores include branches in Halifax in West Yorkshire, Broadstairs in Kent and the Basildon Eastgate store in Essex. Staff will face a series of one-to-one meetings over the next three weeks. The eventual job-loss figure is expected to be in the hundreds.
Last year Asda cut 750 jobs at its Leeds head office and in store. The process saw the closure of staff canteens in all stores and an end to shop-floor services such as photo-processing and pizza-making.
“We are currently in discussions with a number of our stores about changes that are needed to the number of hours required to run that store for our customers,” said an Asda spokesman. “It is common practice for a supermarket to need to make changes to hours based on the changing shopping habits of customers. We understand that any conversations about change are unsettling but it is always our priority to find alternative roles or working patterns for impacted colleagues.”