Asda will give employees an extra week to sign new employment contracts before dismissing them with the original deadline set for today.
The supermarket said workers who had yet to sign the new so-called Contract 6 would be given a seven-day “cooling-off period” to change their mind before losing their jobs.
Chief executive wrote to staff saying almost 120,000 employees had signed the new contract intended to boost productivity, with fewer than 1,000 yet to do so.
“On Saturday, once the closing date has passed, we will write to them again, offering them the opportunity to sign up because we really don’t want any colleague to make a decision to leave and then regret it,” he said, as first reported by Reuters.
An Asda spokesperson said anyone turning up for work on Sunday or Monday having not signed the contract will be asked again to do so.
The new contracts require staff to be more flexible with their working hours and to work five of eight bank holidays as well as across departments.
The base rate of pay is set to increase to £9 per hour from 3 November and to £9.18 from April 2020 in line with the national living wage, although night shift, which require additional pay, will be reduced from eight to five hours.
It is the last of the UK’s big four supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainbury’s and Morrisons to implement more flexible working contracts.
All are continuing to lose market share to German-owner Aldi and Lidl.