Tesco distribution workers to strike in run-up to Christmas

Tesco workers to launch pre-Christmas strike at NI distribution centres
A continuous, “all-out” strike at Antrim and Belfast are scheduled to begin on December 16.
// Workers at four Tesco distribution centres plan to go on strike in the days leading up to Christmas
// Tesco has said it is confident it will be able to fulfil customers’ needs in the vital festive period

Tesco warehouse workers and HGV drivers are set to stage a series of strikes in the coming weeks in a dispute over pay.

According to Unite, over 1,000 workers at depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster plan action starting on December 16.

The union said the supermarket giant had offered a 4 per cent pay rise, describing it as “well below” the current retail price index (RPI) inflation rate of 6 per cent.


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The current consumer prices index (CPI) is 4.2 per cent.

Tesco said its offer was one of the highest awards made within its distribution business in the last 25 years.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep Tesco’s shelves filled throughout the pandemic.

“At the very least the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer should be making our members a decent pay offer.

“Unite members at the Antrim and Belfast Tesco distribution centres will launch an all-out, continuous strike from 7am on 16 December.

Unite regional officer George Brash said the action is a “last resort”, adding that “even at this late stage, it is not too late for Tesco bosses to avoid severe disruption by making a greatly improved offer and returning to the negotiating table,” he said.

Workers at the Didcot and Doncaster sites will strike for 48 hours from 6am on December 16 , followed by a further five-day stoppage from 20 December.

Following this, further strikes will be held at the two sites after Christmas.

The union announced that a strike ballot result of its members at Tesco’s distribution centre in Livingston, Scotland, will be known on Monday.

If workers vote for industrial action they will be likely to join the strike action before Christmas, said the union.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Unite is taking strike action as a last resort having exhausted all other options.

“Even at this late stage Tesco could still avoid severe disruption in its stores by returning to the negotiating table and making a greatly improved offer.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Our distribution colleagues have worked tirelessly through the pandemic in order to keep products moving for customers.

“We welcome the decision by our colleagues at the sites who have voted against industrial action.

“We are disappointed that some have voted to proceed, and we have contingency plans in place to help mitigate any impacts.”

“We have worked hard to deliver Christmas for our customers and are confident we will be able to fulfil our plans.”

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