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More than half of Asda workers forced to borrow money to make ends meet

11 Apr 2022
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More than half Asda workers have been forced to use payday lenders, foodbanks or borrow money of family and friends in the past 12 months, GMB can reveal.

A survey of 2,000 predominantly women workers at the supermarket giant shows just four per cent say they will be able to afford higher energy costs when the price cap rises.

Asda pay retail workers – 65 per cent women – below the average for big supermarkets, with workers at Tesco, Lidl and Aldi all receiving more money per hour.

GMB’s survey shows:

  • 70 per cent (1436/2018) say the cost of living crisis is having a negative effect on their mental health
  • More than half have had to borrow money off family and friends in the last year
  • More than one in ten (12 per cent) have used a payday lender in the last year
  • And 8 per cent have used a foodbank

Asda’s big four rivals Tesco and Sainsburys both upped pay for retail staff last week – adding to pressure on the supermarket giant to raise its pay.  

Asda and GMB are currently locked in a long-running equal pay claim on behalf of 40,000 Asda workers over whether the predominantly female shop floor workforce deserves equal pay to that of those in the distribution centre. 

Asda withdrew hot food from retail workplace canteens in 2016. GMB is calling for this to return, especially now to help staff with the cost of living crisis. 

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said:

“No one should be forced onto the breadline when they’re working. Asda needs to up its pay to stop this now.

“We’ve spoken to our members and they’re clear – they’re forced to borrow money and are enduring a negative impact on their mental health because their pay is so low. 

“Asda now have the dubious honour of being the worst paid major supermarket. Its staff deserve better. 

“Asda needs to engage with us and agree a real pay rise for its staff. They can end this stress for key workers who kept the shelves stacked through COVID and maintain their profit margins.”

 
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