Asda is faced with possible strike action after thousands of workers said they were ready to walk out over the company’s failure to make an acceptable pay offer.
GMB union representatives, who represent the workers, are expected to meet after the next pay talks to agree on the next steps in moving to a formal strike ballot after 94% of the warehouse, clerical works and LGV drivers voted in favour of strike action.
The dispute was sparked after Big 4 grocer failed to “come clean” and “disclose” if it is holding back pay rises for its staff members – with inflation running at a ten-year high.
The news comes after the supermarket’s directors pocketed £12.6 million in pay and share-based payments, while the company turned an operating profit of £486 million in the year 2020.
Last week, GMB wrote to Asda asking if it is holding back distribution workers’ pay because of potential future liabilities in a long-running equal pay claim.
The union currently engaged with the 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.”
“This immense vote in favour of industrial action shows the bubbling anger and resentment among the workers,” GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said.
“They know what they are worth and they feel Asda is trying to take them for mugs.
“Asda workers are risking their lives as this pandemic rages on – our members in the depots lost colleagues to this disease.
Houghton added: “They have kept this nation fed throughout every lockdown, turning up for work day in day out.
“All they are now asking for is a fair slice of the pandemic profit pie which Asda directors have benefited hugely from, money our hard-working members created for the company.
“It’s repugnant corporate behaviour, and workers are ready to strike.”