Asda is cutting the hourly wages of 1,500 grocery delivery drivers by more than 12% despite the cost of living crisis.
The UK’s third-largest supermarket chain is ending a £1.50-an-hour bonus introduced this summer to help attract and retain drivers delivering groceries to homes from certain stores London, including Charlton, Wembley and Colindale, as well as outlets in Bristol and the South Coast.
The drivers’ £10.10 hourly rate bonus, which started in July, had been promised until at least Christmas but is withdrawn on October 21.
Asda said it introduced the higher rate for drivers in these regions because they experienced “higher than average levels of challenge in the job market”. An Asda spokesperson said it introduced the additional payments in July on a trial basis and was ending them as “it has not delivered the desired results”.
Nadine Houghton, national officer of the GMB union, which represents many of Asda’s delivery drivers, said: ‘Asda’s attempt to address its driver shortage was a band-aid that was never going to work. Asda needs to address the fundamental problem: drivers’ pay is far below that of other retailers, as is their in-store pay.
“A temporary or one-time payment never went far enough to attract drivers at a time when they were in high demand. Drivers must be paid competitive rates for work or they will continue to find work elsewhere.
The reduction comes as supermarkets and other retailers see a drop in online orders as consumers resume their habit of visiting stores after pandemic lockdown restrictions ended.
It recently emerged that some Asda workers had to skip paying household bills, take out loans and even use food banks to get through the month due to regular payroll mistakes which saw some underpaid by £500 or more. Asda apologized at the time and said it was taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The supermarket is under pressure to raise wages for workers in its stores after rivals such as Tesco, Aldi and Lidl all raised wages for the second time this year in response to the cost of living crisis.
Asda raised pay to £10.10 an hour in July after a campaign by the GMB union which named the supermarket the lowest payer among the big chains. He has since moved back to that spot after Morrisons raised his pay this month by £10 an hour to £10.20 and Sainsbury’s raised his hourly rate to £10.25.
Tesco will pay £10.30 an hour from next month. Lidl pays £10.90, while Aldi pays £10.50 an hour – but is the only one to offer paid breaks, putting its daily shift package almost on par with its German rival.