Asda la-vista, baby

15 March 2006

Sixty-two MPs have backed a parliamentary motion condemning Asda Wal-Mart for “offering employees a pay rise to give up union rights at their depot in Washington Tyne and Wear”. The motion has been put down by the local Labour MP, Fraser Kemp, and has received cross-party support although only one Tory MP has so far backed it.

 

The motion also “congratulates the GMB union on its successful campaign on the legal right to maintain union recognition”. It goes onto express “concern over the role of the Portland public relations company in its attempt to discredit the GMB”.

 

Portland advised Asda Wal-Mart in its union-busting campaign; as a result Portland faced a demonstration by GMB members outside its head offices on February 17th. The campaign included trying to persuade the workforce to leave the GMB by offering financial inducements.

 

Asda Wal-Mart has now been fined a total of £850,000 by an industrial tribunal – which consists of £2,500 compensation per employee – because of its Washington tactics, which were condemned by the tribunal

 

The tribunal ruling said: “One cannot describe this other than as very hostile to trade unions and highly disparaging of the process of collective bargaining.”

 

Despite the tribunal ruling, it seems that the company is still planning to derecognise the GMB, which is balloting for strike action.

 

To help support the campaign by the GMB to keep recognition at Asda, write to your Member of Parliament at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA and request that he or she supports early day motion 1706 in the name of Fraser Kemp MP.

 

The full wording of the motion is: “That this House notes that Asda Wal-Mart has been fined £850,000 in the United Kingdom for offering employees a pay rise to give up union rights at their depot in Washington Tyne and Wear; congratulates the GMB union on its successful campaign on the legal rights to maintain union recognition which is fundamental to society; expresses concern over the role of the Portland public relations company in its attempts to discredit the GMB; and further notes that trade unions play a constructive role in the United Kingdom for employees and employers.”

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