Workers rights are constantly being eroded by a political and economic system that treats pretty much anyone below management level as disposable units to be replaced if they ask for even a basic level of fairness and dignity. The latest manifestation of this comes with the supermarket giant, Asda, forcing their workers to sign punitive new contracts or face redundancy: Asda staff say forced new contract changes have turned them into “prisoners”.

Under the terms of the new contract, workers will lose paid breaks and Bank Holiday working will become compulsory. Not getting paid for breaks? In a fast moving retail environment, breaks are essential for workers health and wellbeing. To face not get paid for what is a necessity is a sodding insult from Asda management who can’t see any further than the bottom line on their balance sheet. The new contracts will force workers to work Bank Holidays, regardless of what other commitments they may have. Need time off on a Bank Holiday for family reasons? The management’s attitude is tough luck – work it as directed or find another job.

There’s a petition organised by the GMB union in a bid to get Asda to try and apply some humanity in dealing with their workers: Tell Asda: Respect your workers. By any means necessary we suppose and if anyone wants to sign the petition, give it a go. Just bear in mind the petition is appealing to something the senior management at Asda don’t have – humanity and a sense of decency. Somehow, we reckon Asda’s PR team will try and bullshit their way round this. The situation really does require considerably more militant action than this. As things stand, how and even if that can emerge is an open question…

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