THOUSANDS of Asda workers may lose paid lunch breaks under new contracts being introduced as part of a shakeup.
The proposals will also see the minimum hourly store wage rise to £9 from £8.21, but the supermarket believes that it could leave five per cent of staff worse off.
Workers on basic pay will see wages rise by 79p an hour, boosting annual incomes.
For example, a worker who’s paid £8.21 an hour will work 39 hours a week and will earn £16,649.88 over the year.
This will rise to £18,252 a year, up £1,602.12.
But in return, staff will be expected to work “more flexible hours” including bank holidays – excluding Christmas and New Year – and won’t be paid for their lunch breaks.
Around 50,000 members of staff are already on these “flexible contracts”, which were first introduced in 2017, but now it plans to move all workers onto one.
The changes are expected to affect 60,000 workers, according to trade union GMB, meaning that around 3,000 of them will see their pay cut on the new system
The move is supposed to simplify terms by replacing six different contract types into one standard option, which will still include the benefits of an annual bonus.
Workers will still be entitled to a staff discount and can still put part of their wages into a sharesave and pension.
Asda’s senior vice president, operations, Anthony Hemmerdinger said that the changes would make pay “fairer to all colleagues”.
The supermarket is also also agreed to proved a “transitional payment” to staff who will see a drop in pay as a result of the changes.
But Gary Carter, GMB national officer, has promised to “fight any imposition of these contracts” on its members.
The proposals are currently in a consultation process with staff who will get to vote on whether they want the changes to go ahead.
If approved, the new contracts will come into effect at the end of 2019.
Sainsbury’s carried out a similar move with its staff last year, moving workers onto contracts that meant staff would not longer benefit from yearly bonuses or paid breaks during the working day.
Asda and Sainsburys are still in talks about a merger that would see it overtake Tesco as the biggest chain in the UK.