Asda and Union: `same work-same pay’ for workers in meat sector

Supermarket group Asda and union Unite join hands


5th March 2010:
In an attempt to cut down on discrimination against migrant workers in the UK and bring about pay parity between them and the indigenous employees, supermarket group Asda has joined hands with the union Unite.

The two have reached an agreement to jointly deal with discrimination against the migrant workers in its meat and poultry factories in the UK.

According to the deal, Asda will require its suppliers to put to an end the practice of paying migrants less, compared to the indigenous employees, for the same work. The suppliers will also be asked create to permanent jobs for agency workers after a fixed period.

The intention is also to bring to an end the culture of bullying and harassment prevailing in the industry.

The development is significant as according to an estimate by Unite around 6,000 workers, most of them migrants, will possibly get better rates of pay once the agreement comes into force.

As of now, more than 26,000 out of a UK total of 45,000 meat workers are now members of Unite. It has been carrying on the campaign since 2005 to organise all workers in the sector, migrant and indigenous included.

The move comes at a time when leading supermarkets in the UK are gearing themselves up for the results of an inquiry conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into conditions in the UK meat sector.

The report anticipated to be out this month is expected be highly damaging to the reputation of the supermarkets and their suppliers. It is also expected to bring to the fore the practice of discrimination being widespread in the chicken and red meat factories around the country, leading to racial tensions.

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