Muller HGV drivers and shunters to strike over rota change

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

HGV drivers and shunters plan to strike at Muller's Stonehouse factory
HGV drivers and shunters plan to strike at Muller's Stonehouse factory

Related tags Dairy Supply chain

Strikes by HGV drivers and shunters at Muller’s Stonehouse factory in Gloucestershire threaten sales of Marks & Spencer and Waitrose milk, claimed Unite the Union.

Unite members at the site will strike over imposed rota changes by the company that it claimed negatively impact the workers’ quality of life. The change to a five-days-on two-days-off rota system ‘contravenes an agreement with Unite signed by the company’ earlier this year. 

Up to 70 staff responsible for delivering milk, flavoured milk and potted cream to Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Waitrose nationwide will strike on 25, 26 and 27 August and 1, 2 and 3 September. More strikes are planned if the dispute is not resolved. 

A spokesperson for Müller Milk & Ingredients said: “Following the introduction of rota changes which reflect the evolving needs of our business, a small number of logistics employees at our Severnside site have voted in favour of industrial action.  

“These changes do not relate to pay and it is important to stress that we have thorough plans in place to ensure that deliveries of dairy products to our customers will not be affected.”  

‘Deliberately broken agreement’ 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The company have deliberately broken an agreement ratified with Unite earlier this year that expressly stated rotas would not change.  

“Unite will defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions with the full force of the union. Muller signed an agreement – it must stick to it.” 

Unite claimed the disruption would affect supplies to Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which also receive deliveries from the Stonehouse plant.  

‘Bad faith’ 

Unite regional officer Amy Roberts added: “Muller is acting in very bad faith and this behaviour will now impact their customers. Our members are resolute in their determination to force the company to abide by the original agreement. They will not stand for such attacks on their work/life balance. Muller needs to scrap these excessive rota demands.” 

In other union related news, earlier this month saw Barry Callebaut has implemented a 10% pay increase for 200 workers at its Banbury factory in Oxfordshire in agreement with trade union Unite. 

Meanwhile, the UK labour crisis has seen more than £60m worth of fruit and vegetables wasted,​ a new survey from the National Farmers Union (NFU) has found. It said that the 2022 fruit and vegetable harvest has been significantly impacted because there are not enough workers to pick the crops. 

Related topics People & Skills Supply Chain Dairy

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