Supermarket and Blair adviser e-mails revealed
Supermarket group Asda and one of Tony Blair's former advisers planned to dismiss a group of the supermarket chain's employees if they refused to give up union rights, according to e-mails disclosed in proceedings brought by the GMB union.

An internal management memorandum said that any employees failing to sign up to a new 'modern' agreement at the company's depot in Washington, Tyne & Wear, should be removed from the workplace 'as soon as possible'.

According to press reports, Tim Allan, the head of the public relations firm Portland and a former deputy to Alastair Campbell at Downing Street, explicitly agreed with his clients. If the depot agreed to end collective bargaining then Asda should make it clear about the consequences of a failure to sign up to the new agreement rather than resort to a 'fudge' that left any room for ambiguity.

Last week, Asda was forced to pay out£850,000 in compensation to staff at its Washington centre for unlawfully offering them a financial inducement to vote away the union's bargaining rights.

The news came as the GMB pressed ahead with an official strike ballot among staff at the group's 19 warehouses.