Richard Leonard stated he is backing the GMB union and demanding action from Asda after a number of staff reported they were forced to to have to turn to food banks and payday lenders because of increasing inaccuracies and issues of unreliability regarding their pay.
One employee, who contacted The Falkirk Herald, stated the company’s behaviour was “disgraceful”, adding there were months where they were left short by almost £1000.
The worker stated last month alone about 30 of their colleagues were affected by these pay issues and many people are forced to take sick leave due to financial stress and anxiety.
The employee claimed their personal credit rating had dropped because they could not pay their bills on time.
Mr Leonard said: “We all clapped for these workers, who carried on through the pandemic, and they deserve our continued thanks and support. The fact they are having to turn to food banks and payday lenders, when there is any discrepancy or delay in their wages shows just how badly paid they are.
“Asda must fix this immediately.”
In his letter to Falkirk area store managers, Mr Leonard stated: “It has been brought to my attention there has been a significant increase in the number and frequency of inaccurate wages being paid to employees of Asda and I am writing to ask that you take the necessary and urgent steps to address this.
“I understand this has been an issue for some time but it appears there has been a dramatic increase in recent weeks and as a result workers are left with a lack of certainty they will be paid accurately and on time.
"This has resulted in, and increased the number of, Asda workers turning to payday lenders and using food banks. As I am sure you appreciate workers across the retail sector are greatly undervalued and certainly under rewarded for their work.
“While workers and their trade union, the GMB, appreciate the nature of the contracts you operate will mean errors may be made when workers carry out additional shifts at short notice and close to payroll deadlines, my information is – even when account is taken of this – there has been a significant increase in payroll errors.”
“This issue is not unique to your store and I have written to the other Asda stores in my constituency asking the managers to take steps to address this issue locally. I will also be writing to corporate headquarters requesting they take steps across the Asda group to address this issue.”
Asda stated a “small number of colleagues” had received incorrect pay due to an “error”, adding it had now taken action to address the issue, apologising to those who had been affected by the issue.
An Asda spokesperson said: “It is imperative our colleagues are paid the right amount, on time, and we are sorry that an error with our payroll partner has resulted in a small number of colleagues receiving incorrect pay.
"As soon as we were aware of the issue we took action to address it and have measures in place to ensure no one is left out of pocket. We are working closely with our payroll partner to ensure this doesn’t happen again and are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused to our people.”
One employee who is backing Mr Leonard’s stance has experienced these pay issues first hand.
The worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “This issue is happening on a regular monthly basis across our entire warehouse, including warehouse operatives and our transport drivers.
“Anyone in a management position or above is not affected by this as they receive salaried wages. My personal experience, I believe, is one of the worst possible. For
the last nine months my wages were never as they should be.
"There were months where I was short by almost as much as £1000. It often takes Asda weeks to pay owed money back. Colleagues at Asda receive pay every four weeks.
"If wages are incorrect you often have to wait two or three weeks to get everything paid back. The procedure for incorrect wages at Asda is to report it to a manager,
who then has to raise a ticket within the company support system, which are then passed onto Asda's HQ in Leeds.
“It is always Asda's HQ that fails to respond. There is very little a department manager can do beyond this point. Nobody within our depot can take actual responsibility
for this, including our general manager.
"Last month about 30 colleagues were affected and these are only the ones that I know of. People are forced to take sick leave due to financial stress and anxiety. My personal credit rating has dropped significantly because I could not pay my bills on time.
"I am also faced with additional late payment fees because my wages are late. Once again Asda has been aware of this issue for quite some time but decided to do
nothing about it.
"For such a big company this is disgraceful behaviour. I don’t believe Asda is looking out for its workers or its customers. They say ‘save money, live better’ but they truly mean only for themselves.”