29/06/2006

Union calls off Asda strike

A planned five-day strike by thousands of workers at Asda distribution depots has been called off.

The announcement comes following talks between the supermarket and the GMB union over a long-running dispute over pay, health and safety and national bargaining.

The two sides agreed on the establishment of a Distribution National Joint Council to deal with a range of issues of mutual concern and interest in relation to Asda's distribution depots.

The deal also included plans to hold meetings between Asda and the GMB at least twice a year to review major strategic issues facing the company.

The GMB will also be given access to all Asda distribution sites, with facilities provided for union workplace representatives, to distribute union literature, recruit into the union and present the union case during company induction procedures.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the GMB in consultation with Asda workplace reps.

Commenting on the agreement, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said: "This new agreement, which GMB and Asda Wal-Mart have worked very hard to achieve, heralds a new fresh approach to representation and bargaining between the company and GMB.

"It is the clear intention of this new agreement that issues beneficial to the growth of the company and the economic benefit of its employees will be dealt with through the new National Joint Council."

Asda Chief Operating Officer David Cheesewright said that he was pleased that an agreement had been signed to end the dispute, saying that it was "good news for our customers and colleagues alike."

(KMcA/GB)

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