Tesco drivers to strike next week in Eddie Stobart row

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Eddie stobart Employment

Tesco drivers are on the road to strike action at Doncaster
Tesco drivers are on the road to strike action at Doncaster
Deliveries to Tesco’s northern stores face disruption next week after more than 180 drivers at the retailer’s distribution centre in Doncaster voted for a 48-hour strike.

The strike, which will start at 00:05am on Tuesday October 9, followed Tesco’s decision to  transfer the centre’s operation to Eddie Stobart (ESL) 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.

Unite the union’s regional officer, Harriet Eisner said: “The drivers are furious at the way they have been treated by this callous management, which seems hell-bent on throwing them onto the dole queue by Christmas.

‘On the dole by Chrismas’

“The strike action will severely disrupt supplies to Tesco stores across the region. But Tesco has only itself to blame since it washed its hands of the drivers when it transferred them to Eddie Stobart in August. More strikes are on the cards until this dispute is resolved.”

Eisner said the union wanted constructive dialogue with ESL, but the management has remained “intransigent in wanting to get rid of the drivers”.

She added: “ESL has so far put nothing on the table that signals the drivers will be treated with dignity.”

The drivers protested at last month’s St Ledger horse race meeting at Doncaster race course. Stobart was one of the sponsors of the St Ledger meeting.

Industrial action

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Tesco told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We understand talks are ongoing between Eddie Stobart Ltd and the union, and we hope that both parties can agree a way forward to avoid industrial action.  Our former colleagues have been offered positions in the warehouse at Doncaster, and other transport vacancies in Tesco's UK business. 

"We continue to work closely with the Stobart Group and the Tesco roles remain open to the Doncaster drivers, in addition to the positions that Eddie Stobart Ltd have offered within their network.  If the strike does go ahead, we do not expect it to cause disruption for our customers as we have a robust contingency plan in place.

Unite had campaigned for the drivers’ jobs to be safeguarded once the TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking [Protection of Employment] arrangements), which came into force at the beginning of August.

For more on the Tesco drivers' row with Eddie Stobart and Tesco, click here​.

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