Hundreds of jobs at risk amidst Asda shake-up plans

About 300 jobs at Asda are at risk and 4,300 staff are facing a pay cut after the supermarket giant unveiled major changes to night shifts, Post Office outlets and pharmacies in an effort to slash costs.

The Leeds-headquartered supermarket is proposing to replace the overnight ambient and frozen shifts in 184 of its smaller superstores, with staff restocking ambient products between 7pm and midnight, and frozen products between 7am and 1pm instead.

The planned change would mean more colleagues are on the shop floor during opening hours.

But if this goes ahead, it could lead to the loss of up to 211 night shift manager roles and a change to the working patterns of 4,137 hourly-paid colleagues. It would see the removal of night shift premium pay currently paid to these workers on top of their existing hourly rate.

As well as these proposed shift changes, Asda is proposing a 25% reduction in opening hours for all 23 of its in-store Post Office branches following “a decline in the number of customers using this service.”

This would threaten 23 salaried Post Office Manager roles and 200 hourly-paid colleagues would have their working hours cut.

The supermarket is also proposing to close seven of its 254 in-store pharmacies “due to low customer usage”, which would put 48 hourly-paid colleagues and 14 pharmacist jobs at risk.

Ken Towle, Asda retail director, said: “The retail sector is evolving at pace and it is vital we review changing customer preferences, along with our own ways of working, to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible, so that we can continue to invest and grow our business.

“We are now entering a period of consultation with our colleagues on these proposals. We recognise this will be a difficult time for them and will do all we can to support them through this process.”

Responding to the plans today, GMB union national officer Nadine Houghton told Sky News: “The real term impact of this on low-paid retail colleagues is that a night colleague on 30 hours stands to lose in the region of £300 to £400 a month, during a cost-of-living crisis.”

“For this reason, we expect the proposals to result in significant job losses.

“GMB is also concerned the proposals are quite simply unworkable due to a reduced amount of time being made available to replenish the shop floor.”