A UNION representing Asda workers has condemned the Issa Brothers' plan for the company as 'nothing more than asset stripping'.

The Blackburn-born billionaire EG Group owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa first arranged to buy the retail chain from US owners Walmart in a £6.8billion deal in October that has yet to be finalised.

However, plans that they are exploring to sell and then leaseback up to 25 distribution centres around the country have been strongly condemned by the company's workforce representatives.

GMB national officer Roger Jenkins said: “This plan is nothing more than asset stripping.

"Private equity sharks are shaping up to extract as much profit out of the business as they can up front, before they’ve even got their feet under the table.

“Telling our members this plan will have no implications on colleagues is a fantasy designed to try and alleviate the deep anxiety this announcement is bound to cause.

“The Issa Brothers need to stop and think about the proud history and heritage of the profit-making supermarket they are seeking to acquire.”

The brothers have reportedly drafted in advisors to draw up plans to sell distribution centres including Heston, Dartford, Bristol, Washington, Wakefield, Didcot and Lutterworth along with several others, assets forecast to raise over £1 billion.

Employees at the centres however are anxious about the ramifications that this could have for pay, conditions and job security.

This comes just weeks after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority formally announced that it would be investigating EG Group's takeover of Asda.

The regulator has said it is concerned that the deal could lead to a ‘substantial lessening of competition’, particularly in the petrol forecourt market as EG Group, formerly Euro-Garages, already runs forecourt convenience stores for Spar and French hypermarket chain Carrefour.

%image('12151657', type='article-full', caption='Concern: The GMB union has condemned plans to sell Asda's distribution centres', alt='Concern: The GMB union has condemned plans to sell Asda's distribution centres')

The deal to buy Asda is set to be finalised in 2021

However, the deal is still on track to be approved and completed in the first half of 2021.

The Issa Brothers have said that they are committed to keeping Asda’s headquarters in Leeds and that they will invest in the brand.

Asda has said the company cannot comment on plans for the distribution centres as the deal is still subject to approval.