Milk supplies to supermarkets in the north of England could be disrupted over the Easter holiday, if a group of 100 drivers don’t have their pay and conditions protected by their new employer.
Unite, the country’s largest union, says that the crux of the dispute is the decision of dairy company Arla Foods, based in Leeds, to TUPE - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations - the drivers to Moran Logistics, also based in Leeds.
Unite and the GMB union claim that Danish-owned Arla and Morans Logistics are in cahoots to attack the pay, and terms and conditions of their members.
The unions said that Arla is refusing to supply the financial information to justify the transfer and that Morans Logistics won’t recognise the two unions for collective bargaining purposes on behalf of the drivers.
The transfer of the drivers occurs on Sunday (8 March) and the unions intend to service notice on Morans Logistics on Monday (9 March) for strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike.
Unite national officer for road transport Matt Draper said: “Unless Morans Logistics gets around the table for meaningful negotiations about recognising the unions and guaranteeing our members’ terms and conditions, the drivers could be striking over the forthcoming Easter holiday which will disrupt milk distribution to supermarkets such as Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco, in the north of England.
“The drivers, with over 1,000 years of loyal service, are being dumped by Arla - the company has repeatedly refused to share with the two unions the financial information to support its decision.
“The continued refusal to supply this data endorses the joint unions’ belief that pay and conditions will be attacked once the transfer has been completed. Morans’ refusal to recognise the unions strengthens this view further.
"Both Arla and Morans have treated these loyal workers with utter contempt, refusing to supply the necessary supporting evidence. Arla has evaded its moral obligation. Both companies are complicit in attacking our members’ terms and conditions.
GMB regional officer Rachel Dix said: “Our members are incredibly upset and angry. They feel that Arla is relinquishing all responsibility for a long-serving, loyal workforce.
“This is compounded by the company's refusal to share key information on how cost savings can be generated by this transfer. In the absence of this detail, we can only conclude that both pay and jobs will be put at risk. This has to be challenged.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.