ASDA sidesteps strike

Stephen Beard Jun 30, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: 10 million bottles of beer on the shelves. 10 million bottles of beer. That’s how much a British Supermarket called ASDA hopes to sell by tomorrow, when England plays in the World Cup. But a strike against the Wal-Mart owned company almost blew those sales. Stephen Beard reports from London.

STEPHEN BEARD: ASDA, which accounts for 10 percent of Wal-Mart’s global sales, has backed down.

The company has given in to a union demand for national collective bargaining at its distribution depots. And it’s agreed that the union will be able to recruit new members and have a say on health and safety issues.

This doesn’t sound like Wal-Mart, but says European labor unionist Jan Fursteneberg the company has already done similar deals in Japan, Germany and Argentina.

JAN FURSTENBERG: The company is engaged in social dialogue and recognizes the unions and works in the normal way. So we hope they would draw the conclusions that this would be smart to do also in North America.

ASDA putt on a brave face today. In a statement the company said the peace deal was good news for customers and “colleagues” alike.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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