Transport giant Eddie Stobart has questioned the strategy of Unite, the union representing delivery drivers who work at a Doncaster distribution centre supplying Tesco stores, after the drivers voted down a revised offer from the company.

Eddie Stobart and Unite have been embroiled in a three-month long dispute after the company brought the Doncaster distribution centre from Tesco in August. One month later, Eddie Stobart told the 180 delivery drivers working from the facility that their positions would be eliminated.

The drivers have staged one 48-hour strike but postponed a second strike, which was scheduled to take place last week, pending negotiations with the company. On Friday, Eddie Stobart tabled a new offer for the workers - which was then rejected by the union.

"We are again disappointed with Unite's decision and are really starting to question their strategy in these consultation discussions," MD David Pickering told just-food.
Below is an updated statement from Eddie Stobart in relation to the latest offer for the Tesco drivers in Doncaster being turned down by Unite.

"Our enhanced financial package was worth an additional GBP1m and we feel the drivers have really lost out with the latest decision from Unite. Not only did we increase the redundancy pay offer by 28%, but we offered additional pay in lieu of notice and significant financial support for any drivers taking up the hundreds of alternative roles that both Eddie Stobart and Tesco have made available. From the very start of the consultation, we have worked hard to find a suitable resolution and to offer additional employment opportunities for the affected drivers."

Commenting on the latest round of negotiations,Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said that the union's members were "very disappointed and extremely angry" that Eddie Stobart had failed to put "a fair offer on the table".

"Unite believes that there is no need for Stobart's to get rid of these drivers. We don't believe that the firm has the capacity in its existing network to properly service the Tesco distribution centre in Doncaster," Eisner said.

Unite said that further industrial action could now be "on the cards".