Consider the emotional impact of the change

Up to 12,000 Asda workers could lose jobs amid contract row

Published by Sarah Butler Mon 21 Oct 2019 18.32 

Labour MP lambasts ‘shameful’ new deal, which union says will leave many staff worse off.

Up to 12,000 Asda workers could lose their jobs next week, according to union officials, if they refuse to sign up to a new contract that will hit pay and benefits for thousands of workers.

The deal increases basic hourly pay but ends paid breaks, cuts premium pay on most bank holidays and reduces the number of hours rated as better-paid night shifts.

The contracts, which will apply to more than 100,000 of hourly-paid staff, also forces workers to accept variable shifts between 8am and 10pm and to switch between departments as required.

In August, the company told staff if they did not sign up to the new deal they would leave the business on 2 November.

The deal has been nicknamed the “Martini contract” after the drink’s 1970s advertising slogan “any time, any place, anywhere”.

The pay changes come after Asda group’s profits rose by 13% to £805m last year, while payouts to directors increased to £12m from £9.5m the year before.

Neil Derrick, the regional secretary of the GMB union, said: “Workers can be asked to work wherever, whenever including bank holidays. The flexibility and lack of certainty about when they are working, that’s the killer.

“Asda has recruited a workforce saying ‘come to us we are family-friendly business’ and this contract has driven a coach and horses through that.”

Consider the emotional impact of the change

It’s not just public events that create unease: HR changes often strike a personal chord with employees. Suddenly the company is monkeying with their hours or time off

Or a company might be implementing business-related changes that are seen to be forcing employees to make lifestyle changes rather than inspiring them to focus on what matters most to them.

Companies should take these concerns into consideration when crafting messages — and outright acknowledge them too. Sometimes people just need to feel heard — in times when trust is damaged, empathy and understanding are the first steps to rebuilding.

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