Eddie Stobart accuses union of ‘forcing Tesco drivers’ strike’

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Eddie stobart Employment

Doncaster drivers supplying Tesco stores 'have been forced to strike': Eddie Stobart
Doncaster drivers supplying Tesco stores 'have been forced to strike': Eddie Stobart
Unite the union has “forced drivers into proposed strike action” at a distribution hub in Doncaster, which serves Tesco, according to transport firm Eddie Stobart.

David Pickering, Eddie Stobart md, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: "It's very disappointing that Unite has forced the Doncaster drivers into proposed strike action. Since the original ballot was held, we have committed over 120 alternative driving roles within Stobart Group just one month into meaningful consultation and dialogue.

"If the strike does go ahead, we will ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum."    

Pickering was responding to news that the union plans a further a further 48 hours of strike action on Thursday and Friday (October 18 and 19) if talks planned for tomorrow (October 16) fail to reach a settlement.

Notice of termination

The row followed Tesco’s decision to transfer the distribution centre’s operation 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.

The union has thanked the Doncaster public for “the tremendous support”​ it has given the drivers who “face losing their jobs by Christmas​”, when they marched through the town last week.

Unite regional officer, Harriet Eisner said: “The people of Doncaster have shown great support for the drivers. The public is angry at Eddie Stobart for the callous way it is treating these hard-working drivers, all for the sake of increased profits.

‘Tesco has connived’

“People are also furious that Tesco has connived with Eddie Stobart to create this situation when it transferred the workforce to Stobart’s in August. Tesco is equally to blame – and the people in Doncaster can see that.”

The union is campaigning for the drivers' jobs to be safeguarded once the TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking [Protection of Employment] regulations), which came into force at the beginning of August.

Meanwhile, a Tesco spokeswoman said: “We continue to hope that the drivers and Eddie Stobart will reach an agreement. We will keep working with Eddie Stobart to try to provide alternative roles for all the drivers.”

To read more about the row, click here​.

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