Sun. Aug 25th, 2019

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Asda staff in Leeds protest over new working contract

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Media captionAsda staff stage protest

Hundreds of Asda workers have held a rally and march in Leeds over the details of a new contract.

The protest by staff from across the country was organised by the GMB union.

Asda is offering staff a higher wage in exchange for a new contract that would introduce unpaid breaks and a requirement to work on bank holidays.

Asda said it would increase the pay “of more than 100,000” staff. The GMB said the “highly-profitable” firm “could afford to treat staff better”.

The marchers were voicing their opposition to the change called contract 6.

Speakers addressed the crowd in City Square before the march to Asda’s headquarters in the city that finished at the nearby Tetley Brewery site.

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Mabel Ogundayo

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Protesters came to Leeds from across the country

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The marchers demonstrated outside the supermarket’s HQ

GMB national officer Gary Carter, said: “Asda is a multibillion-pound, highly-profitable company and it can afford to treat staff better than this.

“We’re calling on Asda to come back to the negotiating table and give this dedicated workforce a fair deal.”

Richard Burgon, Labour MP for Leeds East, who addressed the rally, said: “I think Asda bosses are treating staff not in the right way they deserve.

“It’s a race to the bottom by a very profitable company.”

Mr Burgon added workers had “no other option” than to march after “widely rejecting” the policy.

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The Asda staff held a rally in Leeds city centre

Asda said the new contract was “an investment of more than £80m, and ensuring that everyone doing the same job is on the same terms and conditions”.

“The retail sector is undergoing significant change and it is important that we are able to keep pace with these changes,” it said in a statement.

“The overwhelming majority of our colleagues have signed on to the new contracts and while we appreciate that some of our colleagues find the changes more unsettling, we do not want any of them to leave.”

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