VIDEO: Strike dispute drivers’ march through Doncaster

Out-of-work lorry drivers marched through the streets of Doncaster on Saturday to mark one year on from a bitter industrial dispute.

About 100 members of the Unite union gathered at the Keepmoat Stadium at about 11am before marching past the Tesco distribution depot off White Rose Way, the scene of a long-running strike last year.

Striking drivers march through Doncaster.

Striking drivers march through Doncaster.

They then headed for the town centre and gathered for a short rally outside the Mansion House building. The march returned to the Keepmoat Stadium for more speeches by union officials.

The row started a year ago when 183 Unite drivers were transferred from Tesco to Eddie Stobart Ltd under The Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment (TUPE) regulations.

Drivers claimed their new employers offered a deal which would have left them with worse pay and conditions. They also rejected a redundancy package.

Doncaster Unite member Trevor Cheetham, 63, of Furlong Road, Golthorpe, said: “It was a worse deal all round, poorer pay and less paid holidays. All we wanted was a fair deal.

“This march is a reminder that we are still here campaigning for what’s right.

“Ultimately we want our old jobs back under fair terms of employment. But the talks broke down long ago.”

Unite members said they hoped the demonstration will highlight how bosses are exploiting workers when they are transferred to another employer.

The union argues that the government is intent on watering down even further the TUPE regulations which are designed to protect the pay, and terms and conditions when workers are transferred to a new organisation.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “We totted it up and the workers affected in Doncaster had about 1000 years service between them. It is a disgrace what has happened. It’s exploitation.”

Nobody from ESL or Tesco was available for comment.

But an ESL spokesman has previously said that drivers were offered a “substantial redundancy package” along with new job opportunities in the warehouse and driving division.