Amid dramatic rises in the cost of living it is essential to pay staff properly. However, British supermarket chain Asda, which employs 145,000 people, has run into significant payroll issues.
The Scottish parliament was informed by a private equity firm that the company’s payroll had seen more than 11,000 errors over the last few months and it has impacted the pay of 5,529 employees. Some of these employees have had over £500 incorrectly omitted from their wages.
Incorrect payments are having a continued impact as repaid wages in the following months are impacting the benefits that some members of staff receive.
Responses to the payroll problems
Nadine Houghton, national officer of the general trade union (GMB) at Asda, told The Guardian: “Paying staff for the work they do is an utterly basic responsibility of employers.”
Houghton added: “Asda knows it is a massive issue, but sadly isn’t doing enough to put this right – they refuse to invest the money needed in the payroll operation to sort this out.
“The stories we have heard from our members are heartbreaking. During a cost of living crisis, low-paid workers must be able to rely on a level of decency from their employer that ensures they are paid for the work they do.”
A depot worker who asked to remain anonymous informed The Guardian: “I have struggled and had to use food banks and food pantries to be able to feed myself and my daughter. To be working for a living but using food banks and charities to eat, clothe and get through life is absolutely humiliating.”
In response to the reports, an Asda spokesperson commented: “It is imperative that our colleagues are paid correctly and on time and we are sorry this has not been the case for some of them.
“As soon as we were aware of this issue, we took action to ensure that nobody was left out of pocket. We are working closely with our payroll partner and have provided additional support to stores to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”
In times of financial strain, it is essential that employers can pay staff. Having an effective payroll strategy is not only essential for staff retention but in many cases, it is needed to ensure workers have a decent quality of life.
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