Diplomacy diverts Asda Wal-Mart strike

By Anita Awbi

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Asda Trade union

Following talks between Britain's GMB workers' union and Asda
bosses yesterday, a union ballot to decide on strike action over
working conditions has been called off.

The meeting, between Asda chief executive Andy Bond and acting secretary general of GMB Paul Kenny, was called to tackle a long-running dispute over industrial relations at the retail giant's UK distribution depots.

Workers have been at odds with Britain's number two supermarket for months following a series of incidents which have landed Asda with employment tribunal fines.

Pay and warehouse conditions were at top of the agenda for aggrieved employees, but now a new plan to improve working conditions may be on the table.

Yesterday both sides promised to work together to tackle the issue, saying the meeting was the "most progressive yet"​ and was a "significant step in the right direction."

Asda and the GMB said in a joint statement: "We have both agreed an action plan to work together to form a national joint council for distribution and are now going to develop the detail of this arrangement.

"The GMB has agreed to withdraw [its] plan to ballot colleagues for industrial action and Asda expressed thanks for this gesture.

"We would both like to reinforce our commitment to working together."

The talks follow months of animosity between Asda and its workers, which lead to the US-owned chain being fined £850,000 at a court in Newcastle in February.

The employment tribunal found the American-owned supermarket chain guilty of promising 340 distribution staff a 10 per cent pay rise to give up the collective bargaining right negotiated by their union - an act which is illegal under 1992 labour relations law.

The court ordered Asda to pay £2,500 to each employee at the County Durham depot.

Last year Asda's treatment of workers was widely condemned by unions and charities claiming the firm had drawn up a "chip away strategy"​ to reduce costs and increase productivity.

But this fresh round of negotiations looks set to get the company back on track with aggrieved distribution staff.

Related topics Market Trends

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more