The animosity between Nisa-Today's and the activists that brought down last year's merger with Costcutter has escalated.

After antagonising the Nisa Members Association with a statement criticising the group last week (The Grocer, 12 May, p8), the Nisa-Today's board has angered the rebels further by going back on a promise to appoint NMA member Anjum Khan to its board.

Khan was one of three members who in November were nominated to become board members following a change in the company's Articles of Association to allow an increase in the number of non-executive member directors from 12 to a maximum of 15.

Since then, along with Nisa members Jim Amabile and Peter Sykes, he has been able to attend board meetings as an observer. He was expecting his appointment to be rubberstamped this month, allowing him to contribute to decision-making.

However at a board meeting last week Sykes and Amabile were co-opted to the board while Khan's nomination was rejected without, according to the NMA, a proper explanation. It means Khan will now no longer be able to attend meetings in any capacity.

NMA chairman Mark Proudfoot branded the board's actions "an absolute disgrace" and said Khan had been "robbed" of his place on the board. "Unfortunately it shows the Nisa board, despite recent statements, is still working in its old autocratic way," said Proudfoot. Khan had been a proactive and diligent member of the board since November, he added.

But Nisa-Today's company secretary Roger McCracken said: "The group's acting chairman Raj Chatha told the board to consider the contribution each of the three had made and what they would bring to the board, and Anjum did not get enough votes.

"The decisions of one board of directors cannot bind its successor and this is a different board to that which met in November."

Explaining the statement released by the board last week, which said the NMA had caused "considerable damage" to Nisa Today's, McCracken said: "The board wanted to make a point that it was happy to talk to anyone. It would be wrong just to listen to one group."