UK: Eddie Stobart appeals to Tesco drivers in redundancy dispute
Tesco driver dispute with Eddie Stobart rumbles on
Eddie Stobart, the transport giant embroiled in a dispute with drivers at a Tesco distribution centre in Doncaster, has appealed directly to the unionised workforce in a bid to prevent further industrial action.
Eddie Stobart managing director David Pickering sent a letter to the drivers last week in a bid to break the deadlock in negotiations and stave off further strike action, the company told just-food today (6 November).
"The letter informs the drivers, in detail, of the status - or lack of progress - with regards to our negotiations with Unite. In the letter I urge the drivers to make contact with their union representatives to ask them to return to the negotiating table," Pickering said.
Eddie Stobart has been engaged in a three-month long dispute with the union since it announced plans to make the 180 drivers based at the Doncaster distribution depot redundant in September. The transport giant had acquired the facility one month earlier from Tesco.
Since entering the mandatory 90-day consultation period, the company has been unable to reach a settlement agreement with Unite, the union representing the drivers.
Unite has called on Eddie Stobart to offer an enhanced redundancy package and suggested the redundancies are unnecessary because Eddie Stobart, the union claims, does not have excess capacity in its distribution infrastructure. The union has staged two 48-hour strikes which, it said, have disrupted deliveries to Tesco stores in the region.
However, Pickering insisted: "The industrial action that has taken place so far has achieved nothing, other than to take money out of the pockets of drivers and put jobs and financial packages in jeopardy. The union seems intent on continued industrial action and playing this out in the media, rather than focusing on consulting and negotiating on behalf of the drivers.
"As always, Eddie Stobart will work to ensure the absolute minimum disruption during this action and to seek the best resolution and alternative employment opportunities for affected drivers."
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