Asda staff get payout in race case

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An Asda manager called out their "foreign-sounding names'' over a public address system in an attempt to ensure that the company was not employing illegal immigrants.

The 37 Asian workers at Asda's Lutterworth branch, Leicestershire, were ordered to produce documents to prove they had the right to work in Britain. Some of them had been with the company for 18 years.

The company has agreed to pay each of them £750, but the GMB general union accuses the management of failing to offer the employees the public apology they had been promised.

Companies are legally bound to ensure that workers are not employed illegally, but government guidelines expressly forbid the tactics used by Asda.

A spokeswoman for Asda said that apologies to the Asian workers at Lutterworth were written and handed out. However she said a GMB shop steward had argued against the apologies being placed on noticeboards because it was signed by a new manager and not the person responsible for the alleged discrimination.

Today GMB leaders are expected to authorise a ballot on industrial action at Asda depots in a dispute over union recognition.