Tesco signals end to the 'us and them' syndrome

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THE GOVERNMENT yesterday hailed a new industrial relations agreement at Tesco as a prime example of how the "partnership" approach should work under New Labour.

The stores group, the biggest private sector employer of union members, unveiled a system for consulting staff and communicating with them as part of an attempt to break down the "us and them" culture.

The deal has been struck with Usdaw, the shopworkers' union with the help of Cranfield University, but it allows non-union members to participate.

Michael Wemms, Tesco's retail director, said the involvement of Usdaw was critical to the whole process. "We believe that unionised companies can do better than non-unionised providing the structure is right," he said.

Ian McCartney, Trade and Industry Minister, said he was delighted that Tesco and Usdaw were strengthening their relationship. "It is a milestone for both parties. Employers working closely with their workforce is at the heart of a successful and competitive business.''