US supermarkets Safeway and Albertson's have narrowly avoided strike action at 294 stores in north California. Over 61% of members at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union representing 27,000 staff at the stores in north California rejected a new pay offer from the two companies ­ marginally below the two thirds majority required to authorise industrial action. Labour leaders said they might urge consumers to boycott the stores if management failed to come up with a deal reflecting the high cost of living in the San Francisco Bay area. The supermarkets claim Californian workers are the best paid shopworkers in the US and said their offer of an extra $1.50 per hour would boost average pay to over $17 an hour. UFCW is demanding $2.40. {{NEWS }}