Tesco shoppers across Scotland face empty shelves and disrupted online orders in the run-up to Christmas as members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have announced strike action in a dispute over pay. 

The workers including warehouse workers and HGV drivers are based at Tesco’s Livingston Distribution Depot which provides stock to all Tesco Stores across Scotland.  

The strike action is a result of Tesco’s derisory four per cent pay offer which is well below the current retail price index (RPI) inflation rate of six per cent.

Unite members will walk out on Monday 20 December and will not return before Christmas. The workforce is particularly angry that Tesco is offering a real terms pay cut while the supermarket giant is projecting an operating profit of £2.6 billion for the current financial year.

Unite’s members at Tesco depots based in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster are also set to take strike action in the coming weeks as part of the nationwide pay dispute. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: Tesco is a multi-billion pounds profitable company built on the backs of our members. We are talking about the UKs largest and wealthiest retailer, and the best they offer their workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the pandemic is a real-terms pay cut. Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and it will be giving its full support to our members based in Livingston until this dispute is resolved.”

Unite Regional Officer Willie Thomson said: “It’s time Tesco rewarded its exceptionally hard working and loyal workforce in distribution. The workers have kept us fed throughout this pandemic and after contributing to the exceptional profits of Tesco they fully deserve a significant pay rise. Tesco needs to put its customers and workforce first, settle this dispute or risk shortages over the festive period.  Tesco says ‘This Christmas nothing is stopping us’. Well with the full support of Unite nothing is going to stop our members in their fight for a fair wage deal.” 


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Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.