Asda agency staff to get same pay as permanent workers

Asda’s temporary workers are set for the same pay as permanent staff under a deal struck by the supermarket and Unite, the trade union.

The move, which will see about 6,000 workers win improved pay, comes before a European directive takes effect next year.

In the past, Unite has attacked food retailers for bringing about a two-tier labour system which can discriminate against agency workers. According to the union, these workers are paid between 30p and £1 less an hour for doing the same job as permanent colleagues.

Unite deputy general secretary, Jack Dromey, said: “We warmly welcome Asda’s pioneering initiative which sends out a clear message that one of Britain’s biggest supermarkets is determined to put ethical principles into practice. Asda’s customers can be confident that there really is no place like Asda.”

Anne Fairweather, head of public policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) commented:
“Agency workers play a valuable role in ensuring that meat and poultry is prepared and ready for sale in a fluctuating market place. The REC fully supports that these workers are recognised and duly rewarded for their work, but it is the responsibility of supermarkets, such as ASDA, to ensure that there is enough money in the supply chain if equal treatment in terms of pay, is to be reached.

“The REC is disappointed that the investigation by Asda and Unite has taken place without the consultation of bodies that represent agencies in the supply chain, such as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. We would encourage them to consult and involve all parties moving forward, to ensure that their proposals are workable in practice.”

To read more stories about pay and bonuses