After Tesco, now George owner Asda faces strike threat
Asda has become the second UK supermarket giant facing strikes although any potential action would not kick in until after the critical Christmas period.
The value retailer that owns the George clothing brand is awaiting the outcome of a consultative ballot by the GMB union over the supermarket’s decision not to give distribution staff a "meaningful" pay offer. Results of the ballot are due on 20 December, meaning a vote to strike would mean action would not begin until the New Year.
The dispute follows bigger rival Tesco, which is attempting to avoid a strike by warehouse staff due to start on 16 December.
An Asda spokesperson told Sky News: “The GMB has recently made an additional pay claim on top of a two-year deal which was agreed with them in May. As our annual pay negotiations have just begun and discussions are ongoing, any talk of industrial action is premature. In addition, we have responded to the driver shortage by offering all of our existing HGV drivers a £1,000 one-off discretionary incentive retention payment.”
Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: "Asda workers turned up throughout the Covid pandemic risking their lives to keep the nation fed - as well as helping the company turn a profit of almost £500 million.
“Staff who saw colleagues lose their lives to Covid are not having their legitimate demands for a pay rise treated seriously.
“Asda now say GMB members' pay claim is 'unaffordable' and yet their hard work and sacrifice helped directors trouser almost £10 million between them.
Members of the Usdaw and Unite unions at Tesco’s 13 distribution centres have voted to strike in protest at the company's offer of a 4% annual pay increase. Tesco has insisted it has plans in place to mitigate any problems.
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