Asda suspended Hugh Bennett, a truck driver and GMB union steward in Wigan, for supporting the union’s strike ballot by writing “vote yes” on an England flag.
Last week he was reinstated after Asda shop stewards refused to meet with company director Andy Bond until the suspension was lifted.
Workers at 20 Asda depots are balloting over strike action. They are demanding full recognition and collective bargaining rights. The ballot closes on 21 June.
If the vote is in favour, they are likely to strike over the weekend of the World Cup quarter finals in a fortnight. The action could leave Asda’s shelves empty and cost the company tens of millions of pounds in lost sales.
The GMB fears that Asda will simply draft in workers from employment agencies to replace its striking members. It is writing to all the agencies used by Asda reminding them that to provide replacements for striking workers is against the law under recently introduced legislation.
The regulations stipulate that “an employment business may not supply a temporary worker to a hirer to replace an individual taking part in an official strike or any other industrial dispute”.
The GMB plans to install surveillance cameras at every depot to ensure that no agency staff are used.