Asda workers faced with pay cuts 'using payday loans and foodbanks'

Asda announced last week that hundreds of jobs were under threat as thousands faced wage cuts.

Asda workers in Scotland faced with pay cuts ‘using payday loans and foodbanks’ GMB organisers say iStock

Hundreds of Asda workers in Scotland are to be hit by wage cuts after the supermarket giant announced a raft of changes.

Around 520 hourly paid workers and 24 managers across two dozen stores across Scotland will be affected after the company announced that night managers jobs were under threat and night workers would be moved to lower-paid daytime roles.

In addition, in-store Post Office shops are being cut by 25% while seven in-store pharmacies are set to close.

While pharmacy closures are not understood to be affecting any stores in Scotland, four stores in the country will see changes to the Post Office.

GMB Scotland organiser Robert Deavy said that the news, which was first announced on Thursday came as a “bombshell”.

He said: “The biggest impact will be twilight changes, the majority of members if not all are full time and start between 9pm and 10pm for nine to ten hours, and will see their hours cut up to around 20 to 25 hours per week.

“The financial implications will see the night shift allowance, of around £150 per week, cut meaning members will be down £400 to £600 a month in the middle of the cost of living crisis.

“They are the lowest paid workers of the big six supermarkets. 18 months ago, they were being called heroes, it is not acceptable.”

Consultations regarding the changes with Asda colleagues began last week and are expected to last for 45 days.

Mr Deavy added: “Our members are already under great stress and pressure. We did a survey which showed that some of our members are using foodbanks or are having to borrow money from family, friends and even payday lenders.

“Asda are aware of the issues and GMB Scotland have set up food kitchens where we are buying food because we have been told that workers are going into their shifts hungry as they are prioritising children or just don’t have the money.

“Everything has risen in price but Asda wages have not gone up and GMB are utterly opposed to the changes.

“These colleagues are working in shops where food which goes unsold is being thrown away every day.”

A recent survey of GMB Scotland members showed that 10% of those surveyed had resorted to using foodbanks while 60% had borrowed money from family or friends to get by.

A further 15% said that they had borrowed money from payday lenders to make ends meet.

An overwhelming majority of 97% of members surveyed said that they were worried about the rise of energy costs and 94% responded that they did not feel valued as a key worker.

Some members (5%) admitted that they had to take time off work because they could not afford travel costs and 62% said that the cost of living had impacted their mental health.

Last week, Asda’s retail director Ken Towle said the business recognised it would be a “difficult time” for the staff affected as it entered into consultation with them.

Mr Towle said: “The retail sector is evolving at pace and it is vital we review changing customer preferences, along with our own ways of working, to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible, so that we can continue to invest and grow our business.

“We are now entering a period of consultation with our colleagues on these proposals.

“We recognise this will be a difficult time for them and will do all we can to support them through this process.”

Asda has been contacted for comment.

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