Asda moves to block strike

24-08-2006

Supermarket giant Asda is due to go to the high court this morning in a bid to block a planned five-day strike by its depot workers.

The retailer was yesterday locked in last minute talks with the GMB union in a bid to resolve a dispute over pay and bargaining, which will see staff at 20 Asda distribution depots across the UK begin industrial action on Friday, if an agreement is not reached.

Reports claim that talks are set to resume this morning in a final attempt to reach a settlement before today's legal action - launched by Asda after it claimed that there had been "serious flaws" with the GMB ballot of workers in regard to strike action.

The supermarket, owned by US grocery giant Wal-Mart, alleges that ballot papers had been sent to people who did not work for the company.

The GMB claims that union members at the Asda depots voted by three to one in favour of the strike, which centres on demands for the introduction of national collective bargaining rights at all the retailer's distribution centres.

If an agreement cannot be reached between Asda and the GMB, warehouse staff and drivers will take part in the walk-out at the depots which supply the supermarket chain's 300 stores across the country.

The planned industrial action threatens to disrupt supplies during the height of the World Cup tournament, but Asda insists that two-thirds of its depot workers are not union members and that it will do all it can to ensure that customers are unaffected.

A spokesman for Asda said yesterday that the supermarket still hoped to find a resolution to the dispute as a result of ongoing talks with the GMB.

The GMB has not commented so far.


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