180 Tesco drivers, members of Unite the union, at the supermarket giant’s distribution hub in Doncaster have announced an indefinite strike from Thursday 6th December, after they voted to reject the latest “completely unsatisfactory” offer to settle the long-running dispute.
Having already taken 8 days of strike action, a planned 4-day strike was suspended to allow talks with conciliation service ACAS, but conditions attached to the company’s offer, covering issues from training to sickness leave, would mean substantial cuts to drivers’ redundancy terms and their chances of re-employment.
Tesco, not content with £3.8 billion profit last year, transferred their Doncaster transport workforce in August to Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) to cut costs. Then ESL, whose own drivers are on £2-50 an hour less than the Tesco drivers, on 5 September issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers will be re-employed once the 90-days are up.
So the Tesco drivers feel they have nothing to lose now by going on all-out strike and hitting Tesco hard in its busiest Christmas period. Stobarts claim that it can service the Doncaster distribution using its existing network of drivers and vehicles has been shown to be untrue during the earlier strikes when ESL had to bring in agency and scab drivers.
As well as strong picketing, the drivers will leaflet customers at Tesco stores and hold a march into Doncaster. And the tank, which appeared on the picket line last month, is expected to be seen again!This strike has become the most crucial in the private sector, and a victory for the Tesco drivers is vital in stopping the “Race to the Bottom” that Tesco and other Big Businesses are trying to drive through. These workers need the support of the whole trade union movement.Please send messages of support to Unite shop steward Trevor Cheetham c/o [email protected]Previous Strike Report 10th Nov