ASDA workers vote for strike
74.1% in favour of industrial action
GMB members working in Asda Wal-Mart’s 20 distribution depots across the country have voted by 3 to 1 (74.1% in favour) to take strike action in support of their outstanding claims with the company. They also voted by an even bigger margin of more than 4 to 1 for industrial action short of a strike to secure their objectives.
GMB’s Asda Wal-Mart Shop Stewards National Council and GMB local and national officials will meet tomorrow (Thursday 22nd June 2006) in Manchester at Staff House, Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3BB at 11 a.m. to consider the ballot result and set dates and times for a programme of industrial action.
GMB members who were balloted work as HGV drivers and warehouse picker and loaders at Asda Wal-Mart 20 distribution depots including Bedford, Chepstow, Dartford, Didcot, Erith, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Ince George in Wigan, Lymedale Staffordshire, Lutterworth in Leicestershire, Portbury in Bristol, Skelmersdale, Teesport, ADC Wigan, Wakefield and Washington. They move 30,000 tonnes per day of ambient, fresh, chilled and frozen produce from 20 distribution depots to 300 Asda Wal-Mart Stores around the country.
GMB members in Asda Wal-Mart’s distribution depots want to see the establishment of proper national bargaining structures between the company and GMB covering pay, conditions and union facilities in all 20 distribution depots.
Once established the first thing GMB members employed in the depots want is an agreement, via the new national negotiating structures, that Asda Wal-Mart pay the unpaid 2005 bonus of £300 per worker. The second issue GMB members in the depots want dealt with via the new national negotiating structures is an end to the unilateral introduction of new technology leading to higher work rates in the depots which health and safety experts say will seriously injury GMB members over a long period of time. GMB members want an agreement that safe work rates are established by a panel of independent experts.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary responding to the ballot result said, “GMB members in the 20 Asda Wal-Mart distribution depots have spoken. They have voted by three to one to take strike action despite all of the company’s attempts to dissuade or intimidate them to vote no. GMB members have been subjected to unprecedented interference and propaganda by Asda Wal-Mart. This ballot result shows that it is time for Asda Wal-Mart to wake up and smell the coffee.
"GMB members tell us that the company is gearing up and may illegally attempt to use agency labour to do our members jobs. This is what is behind the company statement that in the event of industrial action the customers will not notice a thing. Using agency labour during an official trade dispute is illegal and GMB will not allow Asda Wal-Mart to run a coach and horses through UK labour law. Any attempt by outside agencies to interfere or undermine this lawful industrial action by GMB members will be responded to with full vigour.
"GMB Shop Stewards and GMB officials will meet in Manchester tomorrow and there will be a further announcement after that meeting."
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