UK: Tesco drivers reject Eddie Stobart offer

By Katy Askew | 22 October 2012

Tesco delivery drivers employed by transportation group Eddie Stobart have rejected the latest offer from the company, with union representatives calling the negotiations "very disappointing".

Delivery drivers working at a distribution centre in Doncaster had postponed a 48-hour strike, planned to begin least Thursday (18 October), pending negotiations with Eddie Stobart that took place on Friday.

The 180 drivers, who are represented by the union Unite, have been embroiled in a dispute with Eddie Stobart that has now lasted almost three months. The drivers' contracts were transferred from Tesco to Eddie Stobart when the retailer sold the distribution centre to the logistics firm in August. At the beginning of September they were told that their positions were being eliminated. 

After the drivers voted down Eddie Stobart's latest offer Union officials said that further industrial action from the drivers is now "on the cards".

Unite regional officer, Harriet Eisner said: "Our members had put great faith in [Friday's] talks and that their new employer, Eddie Stobart would be putting a fair offer on the table. They are very disappointed and extremely angry that this was not the case."

Eddie Stobart had previously told just-food that it was willing to offer the drivers around 100 positions in other parts of its transportation network. However, Eisner said that this was unacceptable and revealed that the union has been campaigning for enhanced redundancy terms.

Commenting at the end of last week, Eisner revealed that Unite now believe that the redundancies are in fact unnecessary.

"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.

"Stobart's would have to recruit new drivers on worse terms and conditions to run the operation, once they have sacked our members."

Unite added that the drivers had "great support" in Doncaster when they took two days of strike action last week. 

Sectors: Retail

Companies: Tesco

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