Can Asda Fire Their Employees If They Reject Amended Contracts? Thousands of Asda workers are facing the sack unless they sign a ‘punitive’ new employment contract , unions claim. The change to employees contracts would increase the basic hourly rate to £9 per hour for all retail staff, but would remove paid breaks and would force staff to work on bank holidays. In a recent consultative ballot, 93 per cent of respondents told the employer union, GMB, they did not agree with the contract changes.
This demonstration will send a loud and clear message to Asda that however much pressure management has put on staff to sign, workers believe Contract 6 is still not good enough,” said GMB National Officer Gary Carter. Asda is a multi-billion pound, highly profitable company – it can afford to treat staff better than this.
“The new contract cuts holiday entitlement, slashes bank holiday and night shift pay, and introduces an any time, any place, anywhere culture which risks a hugely damaging impact on the predominately part time, low paid, female workforce, who need flexibility that works for them.”
A document was sent out to all Asda staff, explaining the new contracts and what will happen if staff refuse to sign the new terms. It states: “You will have a number of 121s with your manager. As part of the 121 process, we hope you agree to move to the new contract.
“If you still don’t want to sign up to the new contract after those 121s, at that stage, we would issue notice to terminate your employment on your existing terms and conditions.
“We will offer to re-engage you on the new terms. If you choose not to accept the new terms, you would leave the business.”
We spoke to HR director at
ELAS, Emma O’Leary, about the legality of these company changes: “The reality is that a business is entitled to implement changes to staff contracts IF they have justifiable business reasons and follow the correct process. Businesses evolve and have to respond to economic and social changes, which mean often employees’ terms and conditions need review. If there is a genuine business rationale, a company may follow a consultation process in order to discuss the proposed change with their employees. The idea being to explain what the business need is, why that means terms and conditions need to change and attempt to reach an agreement with staff. If employees do not accept the change but the company can still demonstrate the need for it, then ultimately the company can terminate the existing terms and conditions (which technically is a dismissal) albeit offer immediate re-engagement on the new terms. Companies that seek to impose a change – ie by avoiding consultation and simply informing employees that the change will happen regardless, risk claims of unfair or constructive unfair dismissal. Therefore stripping out the emotive language and negative press, Asda do in fact appear to be acting in accordance with their legal obligations – providing they can justify that business rationale.”