Asda abandons four-day week trial amid staff exhaustion

Supermarket giant Asda has scrapped plans for a four-day working week following complaints from staff that the condensed hours left them feeling exhausted.

The trial, which took place across 20 Asda stores, saw employees working 44 hours over four days instead of five for the same pay.

Staff reported that the longer shifts were "physically demanding" and left them drained on their day off. Parents particularly struggled with the new schedule, citing "difficulties with childcare and school drop-offs and pick-ups".

An Asda spokesman confirmed that a more popular pilot involving 39 hours spread over five days will continue until the end of 2024, with no reduction in pay despite the shorter hours.

This decision mirrors the experience of household appliance specialist Domestic & General (D&G) which received similar feedback after testing a four-day week. D&G's chief executive, Matthew Crummack, told The Telegraph that while half the team "absolutely loved it", the other half found the longer days more intense and psychologically draining.

The move comes as Labour faces pressure from unions to make the four-day working week an official policy. However, party insiders insist there are no plans to pursue this route, despite it being a flagship policy under former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In a separate development, Asda has also abandoned its plastic refill store trials after four years. The supermarket cited operational issues and commercial challenges as reasons for discontinuing the initiative, which aimed to reduce single-use plastic packaging. Despite attempts to increase marketing and guarantee lower prices for refillable products, customer uptake remained low.

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