On the Picket Line

Asda store workers in U.K. rally against concessions contract

By Dag Tirsén
September 9, 2019

LEEDS, England — Hundreds of Asda store workers marched here Aug. 14 past the company’s headquarters to protest a new concessions contract with the retail chain.

It would allow bosses to arbitrarily switch workers’ shift schedules and eliminate pay for breaks, cut night shift and holiday pay and mandate work on public holidays.

Buses organized by the GMB union brought workers to the protest from throughout the U.K., including from London, Cumbria, Doncaster, Peterborough and Scotland.

Workers, some with more than 20 years at Asda, said that the new contract means that they will have to leave their jobs.

Julie Wival, who came on a bus from Peterborough, told the Militant  that many Asda workers will not be able to work these new shifts as they are single mothers or care for relatives. The bosses “tell us that if we don’t sign, we will be terminated,” she said.

“Asda makes more than £700 million a year [$860 million],” said Mathew McAlpine from Peterlee. “It is our hard work that creates that. But they keep changing our terms.”