A ground-breaking deal covering the pay and conditions of thousands of workers at supermarket giant Asda was signed today.
The GMB said the deal, covering 10,000 of its members employed in transport and warehouse operations in 20 depots in England, Wales and Scotland, was the first of its kind anywhere in the world involving the United States-owned company.
The agreement, signed at the GMB's annual conference in Brighton today, follows 14 months of negotiations and was described as a "huge step forward" by the union.
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "The growing confidence in the benefits collective bargaining can bring to productivity, staff retention, growth and positive and stable industrial relations is there for all to see following all the hard work of all the parties involved over the past few years."
Ian Stansfield, director of distribution at Asda, said: "This is a ground-breaking agreement that brings our practices up to date and creates the framework for the way Asda distribution and GMB will work together.
"It secures jobs, supports growth and ensures our operation is as efficient as possible at a time when our customers are relying on us more than ever to save them money every day."
GMB national officer Mick Rix added: "This agreement is truly ground-breaking and historic. The agreement delivers a new relationship of working together to enhance the job security of GMB members, enhances their skills and has created a benchmark in terms of health and safety that will move standards in this highly complex logistics sector, where safety is paramount, to new levels."
The Asda depots covered by the deal are at Grangemouth and Falkirk in Scotland, Skelmersdale, Wigan, Warrington, Washington, Doncaster, Wakefield, Lymedale, Lutterworth, Erith, Bedford, Bristol and Chepstow.