Former drivers, who used to work on the Tesco distribution contract in Doncaster, will stage a demonstration at today’s Tesco AGM in London, protesting at their ‘unfair dismissals’.
The crux of their case is that Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) and Tesco had together agreed to make 184 drivers redundant well before the workers had been consulted. Their case is currently partly heard at an employment tribunal (ET).
More than 20 ex-drivers have travelled from Yorkshire to protest outside the Tesco AGM being held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
Unite is supporting the unfair dismissal claim on behalf of the drivers at the ET. The union is also saying that a ‘protected award’ for the drivers should follow for the companies failing to genuinely engage in consultation.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Basically, our members are saying that Tesco and Stobarts colluded to sack our members, who had fought hard for terms and conditions over many years, so that they could be replaced by cheaper drivers.
“Since then the company has been employing agency drivers to do exactly the same jobs as they did, but on worse terms and conditions.
“Today’s demo is designed to drive home to Tesco’s shareholders what the company has unfairly done to our members, so the shareholders know that the company’s reputation will suffer as a result.”
The origins of the dispute go back to August 2012 when the transport workforce was transferred from Tesco to ESL and then in September, ESL issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers would be re-employed once the 90-days were up.
This sparked a four month dispute. Eventually the drivers voted to accept a package from ESL which meant that they finished work in January 2013.
A number of the former Tesco drivers are still working in the industry either as self-employed drivers or for agencies – however, a goo proportion remain unemployed.