Asda supermarket workers in Gosport, Hampshire, went on strike for 48 hours over the weekend – the first time there has been a store staff strike in living memory.
The GMB union said more than 100 members began the strike last Friday, and it was scheduled to run until 11.59 pm on Saturday.
Although industrial action can be a feature of retail supply chains, it is extremely rare for shopworkers to take strike action.
Asda has said that just 46 of the store’s 225 colleagues voted for industrial action and the grocer said on Friday that there would be minimal disruption to operations.
The company also said it has been actively trying to resolve the dispute with offers that have been “continually rejected” by the GMB.
Workers have been in dispute with Asda bosses over a “toxic” working environment but have previously held off from striking to allow time for talks.
Members of the GMB then balloted again this month and voted for strike action after rejecting Asda’s latest offer.
It is not yet known what proposals Asda put forward during the crunch talks.
GMB regional organiser Nicola Nixon said: “GMB members voted to stand up to their employer in December and they’ve done it again in January and February.
“Counter proposals have been made to the company to settle the dispute but Asda has failed to come back with any improvements.
“We originally gave Asda until Tuesday [February 6] as a show of goodwill but no improved offer materialised and so our strike will now go ahead.
“Our members are determined to stand up to Asda and their management and say enough is enough.
“They should be able to come to work without threat of bullying or putting their health, safety and wellbeing at risk.”
An Asda spokesperson said: “We are disappointed the GMB has taken this course of action and can reassure our customers that the Gosport store will open as usual this weekend. The majority of colleagues in-store are not affiliated with the GMB and will continue to work as normal during this period.
“Over the course of several weeks, we have taken reasonable and practical action to address the GMB’s concerns. This includes undertaking a full health & safety review at the store and providing additional training for colleagues where required.
”We have also asked the GMB on multiple occasions to share details of the alleged bullying in-store so these claims can be investigated. The GMB has not yet provided this information.”