The trade union has begun balloting warehouse workers and drivers over potential industrial action after the company failed to make a meaningful pay offer.
GMB is currently engaged with the Big 4 grocer to secure equal pay for 40,000 predominantly female shopfloor workers in Asda, who the union say “do not get the same money for the same value work as people employed in the company’s distribution centres.”
However, the grocer is yet to reply to the unions’ questions on whether the equal pay court case is being used as an excuse for the failure to properly fund the workers’ pay claim.
The news comes as strike action was temporarily suspended at 9 distribution sites ahead of the festive period subject to members voting on improved pay offers.
According to the trade union, it has secured a “new and much improved pay offer”, which 5,000 of its members have agreed with.
The move comes after Usdaw members threatened to walk out from 20 December until Christmas Eve, after rejecting a 4% pay increase for staff.
However, members agreed to a 5.5% increase, which will go up to six per cent in February, after rejecting the 4% deal.
“We’ve written to Asda bosses for clarity; do the new owners have any liabilities in relation to the equal pay claim and if so, have any board-level decisions been made to limit distribution workers’ pay?” GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said.
“We know the previous owners, Walmart, has pledged more than £600 million for ‘certain indemnities’ – but what exactly does that cover?”
Houghton added: “Have the new bosses made any promises to Walmart over limiting future liabilities in the equal pay case?
“Our thousands of Asda distribution members – who risked their lives through the pandemic – deserve to know the truth.”
Grocery Gazette has contacted Asda for comment.