The Doncaster Tesco drivers will strike from Thursday 6 December, after they rejected the latest “completely unsatisfactory” offer to settle the long-running dispute.
The 180 drivers feel they have been “boxed into a corner” by their new employer, Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL), which has wanted to get rid of them right from when they were transferred from Tesco in August.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “The latest offer to settle this long-running dispute was completely unsatisfactory to our members who feel that they have been boxed into a corner by the hard-hearted ESL management.
“The drivers feel that ESL wanted to get rid of them right from when they were transferred from Tesco to ESL in August. Unite believes that this has been the company’s agenda all along.
“The drivers face losing their jobs by Christmas and they will be taking continuous strike action from 00.05am on Thursday 6 December. They will fight on, buoyed up by the magnificent support from the Doncaster public.
“ESL has issued a press statement that is antagonistic in the extreme. Our main aim as a union has been to protect jobs for the long-term; jobs that are secure and provide permanent employment in the Doncaster area.
“We have discussed a financial settlement with ESL for the drivers – but our priority is to save jobs. The drivers overwhelmingly rejected the financial offer which was designed to get them out the door and not to maintain employment.
“Tesco should hang its head in shame at what it has done to this committed and hard working group of drivers.”
The origins of the dispute go back to August when the transport workforce was transferred from Tesco to ESL and then, on 5 September, ESL issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers will be re-employed once the 90-days are up.
So far there have been five days of strike action and a demonstration outside the Tesco Express store in Westminster to raise the profile of the dispute with MPs and opinion formers.
Unite believes that there is no need for ESL to get rid of these drivers and does not believe that the firm has the capacity in its existing network to properly service the Tesco distribution centre at Doncaster.
ESL would have to recruit new drivers on worse terms and conditions to run the operation, once it has sacked the current workforce.
Unite has campaigned for these jobs to be safeguarded once the TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking [Protection of Employment] arrangements) came into force at the beginning of August.
Note to news editors:
For further information please contact Adrian Jones on 07739 654 859 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693 940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.