Asda to axe free tea and toast for staff as part of cost cutting plans

Asda said it had launched a consultation into 5,000 roles

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The Independent Online

Asda is looking at axing free tea and toast for staff as part of a huge consultation to cut costs.

Tea and toast may go as part of a consultation into cost cutting measures that includes staff canteens, vending machines and pizza counters.

The GMB union has said that it will come as a huge blow for staff. “We know from members this is an emotive subject,” a spokesman said.

Asda cut staff canteens from some 200 stores two years ago. It replaced them with fridges and microwaves as well as hot drinks machines.

Asda said it had launched a consultation into 5,000 roles, but stressed that this number would not translate to outright redundancies as staff could be redeployed.

Other areas under consultation include create-your-own pizza stands, which have not been widely used in Asda stores as customers prefer to buy pre-prepared.  Photo centres could be closed or sold to a third party, George desks could be removed and Pharmacy hours could be cut. 

A spokesman said that the consulation comes after a tough 2015.

“We have entered into a consultation with our store colleagues on proposals which we believe will enable us to react more quickly by becoming a leaner and more agile business. 

“These proposals are designed to make our stores easier to shop in and be more effective in delivering the low prices, quality and good value which customers tell us they want,” the spokesman said. 

On Monday, Asda announced 200 job loses at head offices in Leeds and Lutterworth.

Asda has not revealed Christmas trading figures, but data from Kantar Worldpanel suggested a sales slump of 3.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 3, reducing Asda’s market share by 0.6 per cent to 16.2 per cent.

All the big four supermarkets are fighting back against German discounters Aldi and Lidl in the so-called supermarket wars.  Tesco sales were up 1.3 per cent over the Christmas period. Morrisons and Sainsbury's sales were up 0.2 per cent and down 0.4 per cent respectively over the period.