Supermarkets Poll: 83% of Asda Wal-Mart Shoppers Want Tougher Rules For Supermarkets


Asda Wal-Mart customers have overwhelmingly backed calls for tougher laws to protect people and the environment from supermarket expansion, according to a new ICM poll commissioned by War on Want.

The poll has been published to mark the launch of, a new website which highlights the way in which Asda Wal-Mart treats its own staff and suppliers in developing countries.

The main findings of the poll are:

By a margin of 3 to, 1 Asda shoppers believe that big supermarkets like Asda do not pay their staff “decent pay”

According to Louise Richards, War on Want's Chief Executive, the new opinion poll shows big supermarkets like Asda are out of touch. She said, "Asda Wal-Mart's own shoppers think that the company is not meeting its responsibilities to the community, that's why shoppers want new laws brought in to ensure that supermarkets play fair. Big supermarkets are exploiting workers here and around the world to make bigger profits. This is a clear message to government - its time to get tough on supermarkets".

The results come in a tough week for the company, as the GMB union prepares to announce the date for the balloting of its members for strike action at 20 depots across Britain. This comes after the company failed to adhere to a deal with the GMB over collective bargaining agreements. Further, Asda Wal-Mart is one of four supermarket chains to be investigated by the Competition Commission over fears that their market dominance is distorting prices.

Paul Kenny, General Secretary of the GMB union, said, “Asda Wal-Mart does not accept the fundamental points that pay and conditions agreements need to be fair and arrived at fairly. GMB members in the 20 distribution depots will not settle for less, so strike action looks inevitable to resolve this real clash of cultures. Asda Wal-Mart would be well advised to adhere to the UK standards expected by their customers, their suppliers and their staff, rather than look across the Atlanticto what is acceptable there.”

The website,, draws on testimonies from present and former Asda Wal-Mart staff and looks in detail at how the company makes vast profits by squeezing suppliers and exploiting staff. As well as detailed research on the company, the website carries a series of podcast interviews with union activists, workers in developing countries, and people whose lives have been affected by Asda Wal-Mart’s expansion.

On Friday (12 May) a critically acclaimed and damning new documentary, Wal-Mart: The high cost of a low price, receives its UK release. The film features the traders of Queen’s Market in London’s East End whose livelihoods are under threat from a proposed Asda Wal-Mart superstore. The film was previewed yesterday, 10 May, to Labour MPs in Parliament.



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May 2006

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