More than half of Asda workers forced to borrow money to make ends meet

More than half of Asda workers have been forced to use payday lenders, food banks or borrow money from family and friends in the past 12 months, GMB can reveal.

A survey of 2,000 female workers at the predominantly female supermarket giant shows that just 4% of workers say they will be able to afford higher energy costs when the price cap rises.

Asda pays retail workers – 65% women – below the average for large supermarkets, with workers at Tesco, Lidl and Aldi all receiving more money per hour.

The GMB survey shows:

  • 70% (1436/2018) say the cost of living crisis is having a negative effect on their mental health
  • More than half had to borrow money from family and friends in the past year
  • More than one in ten (12%) have used a payday lender in the past year
  • And 8% used a food bank

Asda’s big four rivals, Tesco and Sainsburys, both raised the pay of retail staff last week, adding to pressure on the supermarket giant to raise pay.

Asda and GMB are currently locked in a long-running equal pay claim on behalf of 40,000 Asda workers over whether the shop’s predominantly female workforce deserves equal pay to those of the distribution center.

Asda removed hot food from retail workplace canteens in 2016. GMB is calling for this to return, especially now to help staff cope with the cost of living crisis.

GMB Country Officer Nadine Houghton said:

“No one should have to take bread when they work. Asda needs to raise its salary to stop this now.

“We have spoken to our members and they are clear – they are forced to borrow money and have a negative impact on their mental health because their salary is so low.

“Asda now has the dubious honor of being the lowest paid major supermarket. Its staff deserve better.

“Asda needs to engage with us and agree a real pay rise for their staff. They can end that stress for key workers who have kept the shelves stacked thanks to COVID and maintain their profit margins.

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