Asda and GMB on common ground in union recognition row

The long-running dispute between Asda and the GMB over union recognition at the supermarket’s distribution depots could finally be nearing resolution.

At the conclusion of a meeting last week between Asda chief executive, Andy Bond, and GMB acting general secretary, Paul Kenny, they issued a joint statement: “The meeting today between us was the most progressive we’ve had. We both agree that we have made positive progress, and today’s meeting has been a significant step in the right direction.

“We have both agreed an action plan to work together to form a national joint council for distribution, and are now going to develop the detail of this arrangement.”

The statement added that the GMB had agreed to withdraw its plan to ballot members on industrial action, and that both Asda and the union were committed to working together.

The consensus follows claims that the union was waging a “cynical and deliberate” campaign against the supermarket chain (Personnel Today, 14 March).

Asda’s people director, David Smith, accused the GMB of trying to boost its declining membership by courting excessive publicity.

In response, the GMB had warned the UK-wide supermarket chain that it could call for consumers to boycott its stores.

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