US: Wal-Mart plays down impact of planned Black Friday strikes
Wal-Mart is facing a series of demonstrations against it on Black Friday
US retail giant Wal-Mart Stores has insisted planned strikes across a number of its stores on Black Friday are not likely to impact trading.
A spokesperson for Wal-Mart told just-food "only a handful" of associates at "a handful" of stores across the country are participating in the strikes "made for TV events". Many of those, he said, are not Wal-Mart workers.
The retailer is facing a series of demonstrations against it this Friday, (23 November), which as the day after Thanksgiving is dubbed Black Friday in the US and is the busiest shopping day of the year in the country.
Protestors plan to demonstrate over "low wages and poor conditions" at the retailer, the New York Times reported. Organisation OUR Walmart, backed by The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is reportedly vowing to mount around 1,000 protests online and outside stores, up to and including Black Friday. OUR Walmart did not return a request for comment.
Wal-Mart, which reportedly filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board last week against UFCW seeking to prevent the protests, said many of its associations have "urged us to do something about the UFCW's latest round of publicity stunts".
The spokesperson said: "[The associates] don't think it's right that a few members that are being coerced by the UFCW are being portrayed by the media as representative of what it's like to work at Walmart.
"The fact is, we do not expect these actions by a very small minority of our associates (less than .0003 percent) at a handful of stores to have any impact on our stores or our customers shopping experience on Black Friday."
The spokesperson added disciplinary action may be taken against individual staff members in certain circumstances.
"Of course we respect the rights of our associates to express their views but if they are scheduled to work, we expect them to show up and do their job. If they don't, depending on the circumstances, there could be consequences," the spokesperson said.
"We will take every situation on a case by case basis. If associates repeatedly have unexcused absences, if they purposefully disrupt the store, or create an unsafe working condition for our customers and associates, those issues will be addressed and there are a range of disciplinary actions that will be considered depending on the nature of the misconduct."
The retailer said it expects around 1m employees to be working throughout the holiday weekend.
"We care about our associates and our associates care about providing a great customer experience on Black Friday. We're confident that's what our associates will deliver for customers this year at Wal-Mart," the spokesperson said.
Wal-Mart, despite having built its empire on large format “big box” stores and hypermarkets, will shift gear and seek to expand in the US through small format supermarkets, such as its Walmart Neighbo...
US breakfast cereal group Post Holdings kicks off a relatively quieter week of results with its half-year numbers on Monday. On Tuesday, meat giants Marfig and JBS will report on how it fared in the f...
Wal-Mart has launched legal action against the UFCW union in the US and its protests at the retailer's stores in California....
Campbell Soup Co. has expanded its range of Prego pasta sauces in the US with a new line....
- Analysis: Is Heinz, Kraft merger "a growth story"?
- McDonald's antibiotics move may be seminal moment
- M&A Watch: Who could be on 3G Capital's radar?
- Viewpoint: Faber-led Danone gets realistic
- Green Giant talk underlines pressure at Gen Mills
- UPDATE: Heinz, Kraft strike merger agreement
- Kraft "in buyout talks" with Heinz owner 3G
- Fatal explosion at French desserts firm Senagral
- Infographic: Heinz, Kraft unveil combined business
- Heinz to cut 71 jobs at UK plant