Union slams Asda after keyworkers at Washington warehouse sent letters criticising staff for 'underperforming' during pandemic

Staff at Washington’s ASDA warehouse were left feeling “bullied” and “humiliated” according to a trade union after employees received letters to their homes asking for performance improvement.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 9:32 am

Employees at Washington’s ASDA distribution warehouse were sent letters to their personal addresses asking for an improvement to their work performance after the depot overspent on warehouse performance costs.

One staff member received an average of more than 88% of their target but bosses asked that they ‘see an immediate improvement’ in their performance and another with an average of 99% of target was asked to make ‘a little extra effort’.

Mick Hopper, the regional organiser for GMB, a trade union for members in the retail industry, has condemned the behaviour of the warehouse for crisitisising key workers during the pandemic.

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Asda Distribution Centre, Mandarin Way, Washington.

The union said that a number of covid cases on the site and social distance regulations have made it ‘impossible’ for employees to fulfil performance targets.

The Echo understands that managers at the depot will be ‘reviewing downtime’ and workers who continually ‘underperform’ will be spoken to before bossess start a performance management processes.

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Mick Hopper said: "I’m disgusted that bosses feel the need to send letters to people’s private homes about pick figures not being achieved when we’re in a pandemic that these key workers have worked throughout.”

Asda Distribution Centre, Mandarin Way, Washington.

He added: “We have some staff hitting 85-99 percent of their targets – we’re talking about people not robots.

"These employees have to come to work to earn money, they’re working through a pandemic and some are homeschooling alongside all this and and now they’re being told they could be getting disciplined or spoken to because the pick figures aren’t where they’re supposed to be – it’s disgusting.”

The Washington warehouse establish their performance targets on the National Recognition Agreement in 2012 which the trade union say was based on another depot nine years ago.

An ASDA spokesperson said: “We’re constantly looking at how we can improve in partnership with our colleagues – and measuring performance closely is standard practice within warehouse environments.

"We have commended colleagues who have hit their targets and highlighted where improvements are needed with others. These letters were sent as a follow-up to individual discussions, but we recognise the language used in the letters could have been better and we are addressing this.”

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