A PROTEST is set to be staged outside the HQ of supermarket giant Asda amid claims staff, including workers in Bolton and Bury, 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.

Their officials say staff, including those at their stores in Burnden, Astley Bridge, Radcliffe, Bury and Pilsworth, 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 those responding are said to have been against the new terms.

According to the GMB, signing the contracts has been voluntary until now but undue pressure is now being brought to bear on workers to agree to the changes.

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.

"Our hard-working members are telling us they are being forced into signing these new contracts for fear of not being able to pay the bills or put food on the table for their kids. It's sapping away at morale and heaping misery on our members.

"Instead of strong-arm tactics, Asda needs to show some respect and listen to the workers whose hard work make the company’s profits."

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."