Asda staff protest against new majority owner TDR Capital

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

TDR now owns 67.5% of shares in the business. Credit: Asda
TDR now owns 67.5% of shares in the business. Credit: Asda
Asda workers and GMB members have staged a protest against TDR Capital taking a majority stake in the retailer.

The trade union reported that the protest, which took place at a store in Bournemouth as part of GMB Congress, featured approximately 500 GMB members who gathered outside an Asda store in Bournemouth with signs and a cut out of Manjit Dale, who was TDR's representative on the Asda board until December 2023.

It was announced on 10 June 2024 that TDR had purchased a majority share in Asda​, after buying Zuber Issa’s 22.5% stake for an undisclosed fee. This puts TDR’s total stake in the supermarket chain at 67.5%.

However, GMB has accused TDR of “slashing millions of hours from the shop floor as the company desperately tries to service its debt mountain”.

In the Bournemouth store, GMB estimates that approximately 16,500 hours have been cut during the past two years.

Meanwhile, it has stated that Asda shop floor workers – who are predominantly women – are “owed billions of pounds in back pay through their equal pay claim”.

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: “Hundreds of people gathered at Asda Bournemouth to show their anger at the daylight robbery of a much-loved British institution. Customers and Asda staff are paying the price for TDR Capital’s financial engineering.

“Asda workers are forced to do more work with less hours, while store standard slip. It’s completely unacceptable and something has got to give.”

In response, a spokesperson for Asda said: "Since acquiring Asda three years ago, the shareholders have invested £3.8bn to grow the business organically and via strategic acquisitions. This investment includes launching Asda Express, a nationwide chain of convenience stores, and Asda Rewards, a successful loyalty programme now used by six million customers. Manjit Dale resigned from his position as TDR's representative on Asda's company board in December 2023.

“At Asda, male and female colleagues doing the same jobs in stores are paid the same and this is equally true in our distribution centres. We continue to defend these claims because retail and distribution are very different sectors, with their own distinct skill sets and rates of pay.”

In other news, complaints about five major retailers have been submitted to trading standards bodies across the UK about ‘misleading’ claims on bread packaging.

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