Forty Percent of Asda Workers Shopping at Competitors
By George Anderson
Turns out that Sears Holdings isn’t the only retailer that appears to have a problem with its employees going to competitors to buy products for their everyday needs.
According to a report on The Independent’s Web site, Asda chief Andy Bond told store managers that 50,000 of its workers (40 percent of its total) are not shopping in the chain’s stores.
Mr. Bond’s company, for the record, does not agree with his assessment of the problem. Asda puts the figure for employees who shop elsewhere at 22 percent.
Regardless of whether the actual percentage is 40, 22 or some other figure, Mr. Bond is looking to get to the bottom of the issue and has initiated an internal investigation into why so many of its employees are doing their shopping elsewhere.
The investigation begins after a recent decision by Mr. Bond to reduce the discount that workers gets on toys, DVDs and drinks from 20 percent to 10 percent. Asda employees will continue to receive their normal 10 percent discount on all other goods sold by the retailer.
The reason for rollback on the amount of the discount for toys, et al, according to The Independent’s report, was an attempt by the company to “protect profits.”
A former Asda employee who now works for the GMB general union, Giovanna Holt, said workers at the chain are going elsewhere for a number of reasons.
Number one on the list, according to Ms. Holt: “Although Asda boasts that its prices are among the lowest, the colleagues’ pay is at or near the national minimum wage and they have to buy the cheapest lines in different stores to make their money go further. A lot of them have to live hand to mouth.”
Ms. Holt also contends that Asda practice essentially freezes employees who do not follow the company line. This, she believes, comes out of the company’s open hostility for unions.
When managers visit stores, Ms. Holt alleges, they only meet with “hand-picked” workers and do not get opposing viewpoints.
The combination of low pay, a reduction in discounts and a company unwillingness to listen to employees that differ with management’s view of the world has led to poor morale and, not surprisingly, says Ms. Holt, workers shopping in competitors’ stores.
An unidentified Asda spokesperson denied there was a problem with morale saying that it was “growing steadily.” She also said Asda was considering special “discount days” where employees would save 20 percent on items purchased.
Moderator’s Comment: Are companies such as Sears Holdings and Asda making too much out of employees shopping elsewhere? What percentage of employees
should companies expect to take their business elsewhere? What do you think Asda’s investigation will turn up as the reasons its employees are shopping at other stores?
George Anderson – Moderator
- Asda investigates why staff shop elsewhere – The Independent
- Asda says price cuts winning customers from Tesco – Reuters/Yahoo
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