Tesco shoppers in many parts of the UK face empty shelves in the run-up to Christmas as members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, announced strike action in a dispute over pay.

Tesco workers

The workers, who include warehouse and HGV drivers, are based at Tesco’s depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster.

The strike is a result of Tesco offering the workers just a four per cent pay increase, which is well below the current retail price index (RPI) inflation rate of six per cent.

Decent pay offer expected

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: Our members have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep Tescos shelves filled throughout the pandemic. At the very least the UKs largest and wealthiest retailer should be making our members a decent pay offer.

Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and it will be giving its full and total support to our members at Tesco until this dispute is resolved.”

Initial stoppages

The Didcot and Doncaster sites will see an initial 48 hours stoppage beginning at 06:00 on Thursday 16 December. This will be followed by a further five day pre-Christmas stoppage beginning on Monday 20 December.

There will be a further a 48 hour stoppage beginning on Thursday 30 December and a three day stoppage beginning on 5 January 2022 at Doncaster and Didcot.

Unite members at the Antrim and Belfast Tesco distribution centres will begin an all-out continuous strike from 07:00 on Thursday 16 December.

Very profitable company

The workforce are particularly angry that Tesco is trying to force them into a real terms pay cut, due to the company’s incredible profitability, with the supermarket giant predicting an operating profit of £2.6 billion for the current financial year..

Unite is also balloting its members for strike action at Tesco’s distribution centre in Livingston. The ballot closes on Monday 6 December. If workers vote for industrial action they will be likely to join the strike action before Christmas.

New offer required

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: Unite is taking strike action as a last resort having exhausted all other options.

Even at this late stage Tesco could still avoid severe disruption in its stores by returning to the negotiating table and making a greatly improved offer.”

Morrisons dispute resolved

The threat of pre-Christmas strikes also affecting supplies to the supermarket chain Morrisons has ended after members of Unite accepted an improved pay offer.


Notes to editors:

Tesco risks empty shelves this winter after ‘offensive’ pay offer sparks nationwide strike ballot 

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.