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Trade union GMB claims victory over Lidl

Published 05 May 2017

Trade union GMB claims to have won against Lidl after the low-cost supermarket’s attempt to deny its workers union representation failed.

The Court of Appeal has thrown out the company’s attempts to overturn a ruling ordering them to allow staff trade union representation.

Last year the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), the independent tribunal with statutory powers over trade union recognition, dismissed Lidl’s attempts to block warehouse operatives employed at the company’s Bridgend distribution centre from having a union represent their interests.

The High Court then upheld the CAC’s decision in August.

And today the Court of Appeal again confirmed the right of GMB to ballot members for recognition within the company after the supermarket's objections were thrown out.

Lidl’s parent company is registered in Germany, but the supermarket already has 637 stores and 9 regional distribution centres  [See note 2 for a list of Lidl’s distribution centres] across England, Wales and Scotland employing more than 18,000 staff.

The company’s ambitious UK expansion ambitions could eventually see it more than double in size, with plans for 1,500 stores in the UK.

Lorraine Gaskell, GMB Regional Organiser, said:

“Despite Lidl's repeated attempts at union busting, the courts have today upheld a massive victory for workers’ rights.

“The company has shown a shocking lack of respect for the wishes of their own staff – and wasted shareholder’s money with this frivolous appeal.

“This will pave the way for workers at Bridgend to negotiate their pay and conditions via their democratically selected union reps.

“Hopefully Lidl will now see sense and form a constructive relationship with us.”

Michael Newman, partner in law firm Leigh Day’s employment team, said:

"This is an important step for Lidl workers, allowing them to come together and getting Lidl to address their concerns on pay, hours and holidays.

“Lord Justice Underhill specifically said he strongly discouraged legal challenges such as this one, and we hope Lidl will take these comments on board."

Source: Company Press Release