GENERAL union GMB vowed yesterday to fight tooth and nail against supermarket giant Asda’s plans to make thousands of redundancies at “underperforming” stores.
A total of 3,200 jobs are at risk, a figure that the union said it hoped to reduce through negotiation, redeployment and voluntary redundancy, though it has not ruled out other action.
Asda is one of the “big four” supermarket chains in Britain, along with Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. All are fighting competition from cut-price chains Lidl and Aldi.
Leeds-based Asda, which has been owned by US store chain Walmart since 1999, has complained that it made profits of “only” £791.7 million last year.
Bosses are targeting 18 underperforming stores for job cuts and also plan to cut workers’ hours at dozens of other branches.
GMB said it was confident that it could reduce the number of planned redundancies through negotiation.
Following a meeting with senior management in Leeds, GMB national officer Gary Carter said: “This is a worrying, unsettling time for our Asda members.
“We appreciate the difficulties facing Asda and other retailers and we want the company to be successful, increasing employment opportunities and improving pay — not cutting jobs.
“We are at an early and delicate stage of the consultation process, which will last for at least 45 days.
“Following a meeting with Asda senior management, we are now hopeful we can dramatically reduce the number of redundancies the company makes.
“We will continue to do everything possible to fight our members’ corner and minimise any job losses.”