Socialist Worker

A little bit extra would help at Asda depot

by Joseph Choonara
Issue No. 1959

Workers at Asda’s depot in Washington, county Durham, are set to ballot for strike action over pay this week.

Regional organiser for the workers’ GMB union, Michael Hopper, told Socialist Worker the ballot would be for a three-day strike.

“Action could start around 26 July,” he said. “We’ve already had a consulative ballot in favour of strikes, and we’re confident that there will be a yes vote this time.

“Every time the members have been balloted they have come back more strongly in favour of action.”

The distribution workers are demanding a 10 percent pay rise. They could have a big impact on the Asda supply chain.

A threat by Asda to slash 315 jobs at the depot has also added to the anger, as has an earlier pay offer that the company linked to workers giving up collective bargaining rights.

Meanwhile, on Friday of last week, GMB members at another Asda depot in Wigan, Lancashire, voted for industrial action. Some 61 percent voted in favour of a strike and 83 percent for action short of a strike.

That dispute began when GMB stop steward, Gary Belshaw was accused of leading an unofficial walkout over work rates, and was suspended by Asda.

Bosses were forced to reinstate Gary, but have said they will not recognise him as a union steward.

Two other disputes have affected supermarket depots. The T&G and GMB unions have written to Morrisons demanding the resolution to problems that occurred when the supermarket took over Safeway.

A strike ballot is possible if management do not respond by 8 July. Finally, workers in Morrisons’ Wakefield and Nantwich depots recently voted to reject a 3.2 percent pay offer.

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Sat 9 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1959
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