Members of Unite the union employed as class one lorry drivers with Eddie Stobart on the Walkers Snack Foods contract at Birchwood, Warrington are preparing to ballot for industrial action. Voting is scheduled to open on 28 March and close on 11 April.
The drivers were transferred from Walkers Snack Foods to Eddie Stobart last year under Transfer of Undertakings of Protection of Employment regulations. However, since the move Unite claimed Stobart management had continued to ignore agreements designed to protect workers’ terms and conditions.
“Unite has made numerous requests to Stobart management to come to the table to discuss our members’ concerns,” said Unite regional officer Steven Gerrard. “However, we will not stand idle when our members’ collective agreements on their terms and conditions of employment are under attack and being totally disregarded and disrespected.
“Previously, when our members were employed by Walkers, they had good employment relationships with the company.”
Gerrard claimed if a strike was called it could have “a massive impact on supplies of snack foods to major high street suppliers”, including top supermarkets. Food Manufacture is awaiting a statement from Walkers’ brand owner PepsiCo UK and Eddie Stobart, but the company would have several options open to it to ensure it maintained supply volumes.
Unite is urging Stobart management to engage in meaningful talks to find a resolution to this dispute if strike action is to be averted.