The GMB trade union has agreed to withdraw plans to hold a strike ballot of members at Asda distribution depots following a meeting with Asda chief executive Anthony Bond.

The announcement comes after months of heated negotiations between the labour union and the Wal-Mart owned retailer. In February, the GMB’s central executive gave the go-ahead for a strike ballot to be held in retaliation for Asda’s alleged anti-union activities and its desire to renegotiate collective bargaining rights at distribution depots.

A joint statement released by Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, and Bond, said: “The meeting today between us is the most progressive we’ve had. We both agree that we have made positive progress and today’s meeting has been a significant step in the right direction.

“We have both agreed an action plan to work together to form a National Joint Council for distribution and are now going to develop the detail of this arrangement. The GMB has agreed to withdraw its plan to ballot colleagues for industrial action and ASDA expressed thanks for this gesture. We would both like to reinforce our commitment to working together,” the pair concluded.