Co-op and Unite agree deal to end strike action

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Strikes have been avoided after talks at ACAS
Strikes have been avoided after talks at ACAS

Related tags: Strike action, Trade union

Talks between Co-op and Unite with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), have come to an agreement which will suspend industrial action, pending the outcome of a ballot.

Co-op drivers had voted in support of strike action over the transfer of 87 jobs in Coventry to logistics company Eddie Stobart. The action was expected to take place on Monday (March 21) and Tuesday (March 22).

The ballot of 700 Unite driver members showed support for both strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike. Unite, the union, raised “serious concerns​” over the transfer fearing job losses.

Recommend an agreement

However, after intensive talks Unite will now fully recommend an agreement to its members.

The proposals include improvements for employees at the Coventry depot and longer term assurances across the wider Co-op network.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “We are now confident that our members have a secure future with the Co-op and that our concerns about the future of in-house transport have been fully addressed. 

“Our members have been given a firm commitment for their future in line with the businesses five-year plan. Our members at the Coventry national distribution centre who will be transferring to Eddie Stobart have been given extra assurances that give them some confidence for their own futures outside of the Co-op.”

Strike action has been averted

A spokesperson for the Co-op said: “We can confirm that strike action has been averted.”

The Co-op previously said it had agreed that all staff would see their terms and conditions protected when they transferred to Eddie Stobart.

ACAS said the talks were held in a constructive and collaborative spirit.

​In recognition of this Unite the union has agreed to suspend any industrial action until the outcome of the ballot,”​ said ACAS.

In 2012, Unite was embroiled in a long-running dispute when Tesco in Doncaster transferred 184 workers to the logistics company.

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