The transport firm Eddie Stobart and Tesco drivers have reached a deal to end their four-month dispute.
The row followed Tesco’s decision to transfer the running of the Doncaster distribution centre to Eddie Stobart on August 5. The new employer issued 183 Tesco drivers with 90 days’ notice of termination of employment on September 5, with no promise that the drivers would be re-employed once the 90 days was up.
Last month, the drivers, who are members of Unite the union, vowed to go on “continuous strike” after rejecting the transport firm’s “final offer” of financial support.
But, yesterday (December 14) both sides announced they had reached a deal to end the dispute.
Unite hailed the deal as “a victory for worker solidarity”, after 180 drivers voted overwhelmingly to accept, what the union called an “enhanced package”.
Under the terms of the agreement, the drivers will finish work in January 2013.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “This is a victory for the drivers who have displayed unity, strength and resolution throughout this difficult time against a hardline employer.
“It also sends out a clear message to other transport and retail companies that may be thinking of treating their employees less than fairly that Unite will neither flinch nor back away from a dispute until there has been an acceptable and equitable settlement that our members fully support.”
Eddie Stobart said its latest offer “will see them benefit from an increase on their contractual redundancy pay allowance”.
All 183 drivers have also been offered alternative driving roles at Tesco. Tesco and Eddie Stobart have highlighted an additional 212 jobs to the group, which included: 90 warehousing positions and 122 driving jobs.
Any drivers accepting an alternative role will also receive 75% of their full redundancy settlement as financial support.
David Pickering, Eddie Stobart md, said: “Since the start of September, we’ve worked diligently and professionally to come up with the best possible package for the drivers and to provide a range of alternative employment options. It’s a positive way to resolve the dispute and I’m extremely pleased for all parties that the drivers have accepted our latest offer.”
The deal came after lengthy consultations with the drivers, Unite and, recently, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
Eddie Stobart said the deal meant that the transport firm can continue to deliver good service to the Tesco stores over Christmas.
The drivers, who have been on continuous strike since Thursday December 6, have now cancelled all industrial action.