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Asda to pay Asian workers for racist cant

The problem arose when 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.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 20:18 IST

The feud between supermarket group Asda and their workers has been resolved.

The group has agreed to pay compensation to a group of Asian workers. They had earlier accused the company of racial discrimination.

The problem arose when 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 spokesperson asked 37 workers at Asda's Lutterworth branch, Leicestershire, 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 at Lutterworth were written and handed out. However she said a GMB shop steward had argued against the apologies being placed on notice boards 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.

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 20:18 IST