Workers based at Tesco’s depot in Didcot have been warned to be braced for a dirty depot and canteen closures as workers employed by Atalian Servest have announced strike action over pay.

The dispute involves cleaning and catering staff employed on an outsourced contract and is a result of Atalian Servest refusing to even negotiate over a pay increase.

Low pay

The cleaners are on pay rates of as little as £11 an hour, which includes weekend and bank holiday work at no additional rate, they operate in the main Tesco warehouse which is only heated to one degree. Meanwhile the catering staff are paid the minimum wage of £10.42 an hour.

Profit boosting

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Atalian Servest can fully afford to give our members a decent pay rise, its failure to do so is a cynical attempt to further boost its profits at the expense of its workers.

“Unite is entirely focussed on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at Atalian Servest in Didcot will be receiving Unite’s complete support.”

Initial strikes 

The workers who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, have announced two initial 24 hour strikes beginning on Friday 1 September and Thursday 7 September, followed by a three day strike beginning on Friday 15 September and a further three day strike beginning on Thursday 21 September.

Atalian Servest is very financially healthy; its latest accounts for 2021 reveal that it made gross profits of £84 million.

Dirty depot 

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Scott Kemp said: “Strike action will inevitably result in a dirty depot and the closure of the canteen, but this dispute is entirely due to the pig-headed manner in which Atalian Servest has refused to even engage with Unite over a pay increase for our members.”


Notes to editors

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.