Asda sheds 60 jobs at Washington hub

Asda Distribution Centre, Mandarin Way, Washington.
Asda Distribution Centre, Mandarin Way, Washington.
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SCORES of Asda workers have had a bleak start to 2013 after being told they no longer have a job.

About 60 staff at the supermarket giant’s distribution centre in Washington have been informed their contracts have been terminated.

Mickey Hopper

Mickey Hopper

Now union bosses have told the Echo they are considering legal action against the company, amid concerns about how the dismissed workers have been treated.

GMB regional organiser Michael Hopper, pictured, said: “The workers received letters telling them of the situation and informing them the ‘business needs’ of the company had led to the decision.

“Our concerns are that the employees have not been consulted correctly. They are all being treated as temporary staff yet there are some people who have been in continuous employment there for years.”

The GMB, which represents more than 500 workers at the warehouses, officially lodged an appeal on behalf of the workers on Friday and is currently in talks in a bid to resolve the issue.

“We are not accepting the company’s reasons for dismissing these workers; we don’t believe they’ve been consulted correctly.”

Staff involved work at the Washington ADC and the neighbouring CDC distribution outlet in Pattinson Industrial Estate.

One employee said today: “This is a company making an almost £1billion operating profit, yet here they are getting rid of staff just in time for the New Year; surely there is some kind of moral issue here.”

Employees who contacted the Echo said the move has prompted concern among the hundreds of other workers currently employed at the centres.

One added: “Some of those involved had been there for years so it has made the rest of us think about the safety of our jobs.

“It’s been very upsetting for everyone. Last May we were given a pay deal which we thought would promise us some kind of job security but this has left us all wondering.”

Accounts published last year show that overall operating profits at the Wal-Mart-owned grocer increased by £51million to £857million, on sales of £21.8billion in 2011.

A spokeswoman for Asda said: “In line with most retailers, demand for food in our stores drops in January, which means we have to review the need for temporary workers.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho