The new employer of the Tesco drivers in Doncaster was accused of ‘walking away’ from negotiations by Unite, as the drivers geared up for a 72-hour stoppage strike next week.
Unite, the largest union in the country, said its 180 driver members would be striking for three days - Wednesday (31 October), Thursday (1 November) and Friday, (2 November) – causing disruption to deliveries to Tesco stores across the region.
Unite regional officer, Harriet Eisner said that Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) had promised a new offer this week, but walked away from the talks when it heard about the possibility of strike action.
Harriet Eisner said: “Stobart’s had a real opportunity to settle this damaging dispute which is hitting its client, Tesco by coming forward with a fair offer – but they threw their toys out of the pram in a fit of pique and walked away.
“Our members, who face losing their jobs by Christmas, will be striking for three days to save their jobs. The strike starts at 00.15 on Wednesday and runs for 72 hours.
“Unite is keen to negotiate a fair and just settlement – but ESL has shown a lack of seriousness in trying to settle this dispute.”
Unite believes that there is no need for Stobart’s 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.
The Tesco drivers took two days of strike action earlier this month- with great support from the Doncaster public - after ESL issued 90-days’ notice of termination of employment.
In August, 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.
Unite had 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.
Notes to news editors:
- For further information please contact Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner on 07768 931 272 and/or Unite communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 69394