FRONT PAGE: UK union refuses to smear Tesco

A major UK trade union is declining to join US counterparts who have vowed to damage the reputation of Tesco around the world.

Tesco: under fire in US
Tesco: under fire in US

America's 1.3 million- member United Food and Commercial Workers' Uni­on (UFCW) has pledged to shame Tesco into imp­r­oving treatment of employees at its US Fresh & Easy chain.

Labour MP Jon Cruddas is backing the campaign, and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have urged Tesco to co-operate with the UFCW.

But, in a boost for Tesco, the UK's Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) says it will not publicly come out in support of the campaign. ‘Obviously we're aware of the American campaign,' said Usdaw general secretary John Hannett. But he ins­isted: ‘Tesco has a record of recognising unions across the world.'

But a trade union insider said Usdaw was not entering the row for fear of upsetting its partnership agreement with Tesco. ‘If Tesco picks up the papers and sees Usdaw criticising it, that will rock the boat,' said the source.

Tesco and Usdaw's agreement means there are union representatives covering each shop, with Tesco paying for recruitment and training.

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