A cost of living survey of 800 Asda workers by the GMB union found many complained about stretched incomes, with more than half borrowing money from friends and family to get by. get out.
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Asda workers say they ‘can’t afford to shop there’ due to the rising cost of living and a ‘paltry’ pay rise.
Staff say they are now using food banks for food.
Yet supermarket chain Asda, the UK’s third largest retailer, was bought in 2020 by billionaire brothers Zuber and Moshin Issa for £6.8bn.
And his latest accounts show his profits in 2020 were £368million.
But the Daily Record reports that a cost of living survey of 800 Asda workers by the GMB union found many complained about their stretched earnings.
More than half said they borrow money from friends and family to get by.
More than 500 of those surveyed said the sharp rise in prices was affecting their mental health.
About 5% admitted to taking time off because they couldn’t afford to get to work, and 7% said they used food banks.
Almost all (760) said they did not feel valued as a key worker by the company.
Among those who responded to the survey was Diane Brownlee, 41, a worker at Bishopbriggs Asda.
The mother of one, who worked for the supermarket near Glasgow, Lanarkshire for 11 years, told the Daily Record: ‘Asda has made record profits since lockdown began, with administrators paying themselves attractive bonuses.
“Workers have put their lives on the line by going to work throughout the pandemic.
“But our hard work went unrecognized. We fed people during the pandemic.
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“With the pay rise, I can no longer afford to work at Asda.
“And I certainly can’t afford to shop there without my staff discount.
“Asda bosses told us we were front line staff. But a lot of us feel like we’re on the bread line.”
Asda’s 123,000 workers were told earlier this month that wages would rise to £9.66 an hour from April. But it is much less than most other supermarkets.
Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s all pay their staff over £10 an hour.
Only Tesco pays less – £9.55 an hour – although this year’s pay rise has yet to be announced.
Another Asda employee in Blantyre, who wished to remain anonymous, said she had been stunned by the price increases.
The grandmother, who is in her 60s, said: “I have colleagues in their late 60s and even in their 70s.
“They work because they can’t afford to quit.
“The pay rise is insulting to the work they do.
“We get a 10% discount to buy Asda products but, even with that, it’s a struggle.
“I’ve had colleagues who couldn’t get to work because of the cost of travel. It’s very sad.”
GMB criticized Asda’s below inflation increase of 3.25%.
The consumer price index (CPI) – the government’s preferred choice for measuring the cost of living – is expected to reach 8% by April.
Scottish organizer Robert Deavy said: ‘Asda bosses should be ashamed that staff can’t afford the food they stock on the shelves and any politician worth their salt should be stunned – there is no “leveling” or “fair labor” at Asda.
“For the past two years, staff have been told they are key workers, they have helped feed and water the country throughout the grip of Covid-19, but after all they have done for all of us, their ‘thank you’ will be wages of just £9.66 an hour as inflation climbs to its highest level in 30 years.
“Without intervention, these daily struggles will only get worse and for tens of thousands of Asda key workers, they may go from frontline to dividing line in 2022.”
The CPI and the cost of food in supermarkets has been highlighted by food campaigner Jack Monroe over the past month.
She forced Asda to roll out her value range to more stores after showing how prices were skyrocketing.
In a viral thread on Twitter, the mum said a bag of the cheapest pasta went from 29p to 70p over a year, with tinned spaghetti going from 13p to 35p over the same period.
Monroe launched a statistics campaign to better represent the rising cost of food for the poorest.
She set up her own index tracking the price of basic ranges in supermarkets with the help of her Twitter followers.
Last month it was announced that the Office for National Statistics planned to use data from supermarket scanners to give a more detailed picture of price changes.
An Asda spokesman said the pay deal, reached with the Usdaw union, would result in wages in excess of £10 an hour within two years.
He also said Asda was the only supermarket to give staff a bonus.
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He added: “This wage offer has been negotiated with Usdaw and will see hourly wages for colleagues increase by 7.35% over the next two years, with rates rising to £9.66 in April and £10.06 next year.
“We are the only supermarket to pay a Store Colleague Bonus, worth an average of £413 this year for full-time colleagues, as part of a comprehensive benefits package, which also includes a reduction 10% off in-store and online.”