Asda owners the Issa brothers are trialling a four-day week in an attempt to quiet a revolt brewing among its store managers.
The supermarket is reportedly attempting to rebuild relations with its senior employees after rounds of cost-cutting and concerns over culture have led to managers “leaving in their droves”, reported The Telegraph.
According to the report, a presentation shown to employees last year shows details of Asda’s “leadership structure trial”, as management raised concerns over a 13.9% increase in retail manager turnover in 2022. The presentation said the rate of management turnover had “impacted the stability and capability of our teams in-store, which in turn has impacted the colleague experience and by extension our customers”.
The supermarket said it would trial a four-day week, set to end later this month, and flexible working arrangements such as shorter shifts.
An Asda spokesperson said: “Since September 2023, we have been trialling a variety of flexible working patterns for managers in 20 stores, including a 4-day working week for the same pay and benefits. More flexible working patterns have become commonplace in retail leadership in recent years, and we are keen to test and learn different ways of working that benefit our colleagues and business. While we are still evaluating the results of this trial, the feedback from participating colleagues has been very positive. Asda has also invested a total of £325m in increasing pay for both store-based and logistics colleagues since 2022. For the record, Asda saw a 6% reduction in colleague turnover between 2022 and 2023.”
“Under the current owners, Asda has invested significantly in supporting customers through tough times – and last week became the first supermarket to price match both Aldi and Lidl across a broad range of popular everyday products, further reinforcing its value credentials. As part of their growth strategy, the owners have also invested heavily in moving Asda into the fast-growing convenience sector, including acquiring 475 sites in total from the Co-op and EG UK, as well as rolling out standalone Asda Express convenience stores.”
The news comes as Asda faces growing discontent from store employees and plans for industrial action swirl.
Industrial action at Asda Gosport superstore in Hampshire was supposed to take place on January 12 but has been delayed to January 19, in a “show of good faith” following GMB union’s talks with the retailer.
The strike will be the first time a walkout has taken place at any Asda supermarket in the UK.
GMB regional organiser Nicola Nixon said: “GMB has agreed to further push back the strike action at Asda’s Gosport superstore in a show of good faith following talks with the employer yesterday.
“We are being very clear though that if sufficient progress hasn’t taken place in the meantime and Asda hasn’t used this week wisely, our members will be out on strike beginning next Friday.
“Asda colleagues are continuing to join GMB to be a part of this historic strike action – the first such strike in an Asda store – so the longer this rumbles on, the more union members will be picketing outside the front of the store.
“Our members are bang up for this struggle and we will only delay this strike for so long.”