Doncaster Tesco warehouse staff and drivers in Christmas strike alert

Tesco distribution centre, Middle Bank, Doncaster.
Tesco distribution centre, Middle Bank, Doncaster.

Tesco’s Doncaster based drivers and warehouse staff are threatening to go on strike in the run-up to Christmas.

The workers, represented by Unite, are being balloted on industrial action, with the earliest time they could strike being December 18.

Unite urged Tesco to revise a ‘pitiful’ pay offer of zero per cent for 2015 and 1.5 per cent for 2016 to avoid potential industrial action in the run up to Christmas.

Over 700 drivers and warehouse staff at distribution hubs in Belfast and Doncaster will start to be balloted for strike action next week.

The vote follows a 91 per cent rejection of the pay offer by staff at the sites.

The industrial action ballots close on Friday December 11 and a vote in favour could see deliveries to Tesco stores in Yorkshire and Northern Ireland disrupted in the run up to Christmas with knock on effects felt across the UK.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Our members have been working very hard to get Tesco to the position where the company can announce such promising results and be confident that it has turned the corner of the challenges of recent years.

“We don’t want favours from the company but we believe that the current offer is far below what it can afford and what our members deserve.

“Unite members don’t want to disrupt anyone’s Christmas shopping but without a proper pay increase thousands of workers will not be able to enjoy their own Christmas in the way they deserve.

“We urge Tesco to revise its pitiful pay offer and avoid potential industrial action in the run up to Christmas.”

Tesco has said that “any industrial action at these two sites will have no noticeable effect on Tesco customers”, although Unite argues that it will cause disruption in Yorkshire and across Northern Ireland.

Usdaw, the union which represents 8,000 drivers and warehouse staff, has recommended the pay offer to be accepted by at Tesco’s 20 other distribution centres and workers are currently voting on the proposal.

Tesco is still in negotiations with its store staff about potential pay increases to meet the Government’s living wage requirements next year.

A Tesco spokesman said: “For the past several months we have been engaged in dialogue with our unions over our normal annual pay negotiations in our distribution centres.

“A two-year pay proposal has been fully recommended for acceptance by Usdaw across 20 of our sites and colleagues are currently voting on this offer.

“The approach from Unite is clearly counterproductive, as we have always been committed to pay discussions, and is surprising given Unite had initially agreed to new talks. We want all of our distribution colleagues to support our turnaround plans, and work together to better serve our customers.”