A PROTEST is set to be staged outside the HQ of supermarket giant Asda amid claims staff, including workers in East Lancashire, are being forced to sign ‘punitive’ new contracts.

Union bosses from the GMB are behind the demonstration, planned for noon on Wednesday, at the Leeds’ firm’s offices.

They say staff, including those at stores in Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington, Rawtenstall, Colne and Darwen, have been threatened with the sack unless they sign deals withdrawing paid breaks and reducing bank holiday pay to £9 an hour.

In a recent union poll, 93 per cent of respondents were against the new terms.

According to the GMB, signing the contracts had been voluntary but extra pressure is now being put on workers.

Gary Carter, GMB national officer, said: “It’s a total outrage Asda bosses are threatening staff with the sack if they don’t agree to this flawed contract. Shoppers will be horrified to learn of what is going on behind the scenes.”

Bosses at Asda say they have listened to views from the GMB and their own internal representative group and are extending consultations on the new contracts and making alterations to the break clauses.

An Asda spokesman added: “This new contract will see Asda invest in a pay increase for over 100,000 retail colleagues, as well as enabling us to deliver better service to our customers in an intensely competitive marketplace. We are continuing to talk to our colleagues about this change and to understand what it might mean for their individual circumstances.”