UK retailer Tesco has offered Doncaster delivery drivers facing redundancy alternative positions within its network, a spokesperson for the retailer told just-food today (5 October).

Around 180 distribution drivers have found that their jobs are likely to be eliminated following the transfer of ownership of the distribution depot from Tesco to Eddie Stobart in August.

The workers, members of the union Unite, plan to launch a 48-hour strike next Tuesday in protest at the redundancy package they are being offered. A spokesperson for Unite told just-food that Eddie Stobart has failed to offer enhanced redundancy terms, prompting more than 90% of the drivers to back strike action.  

A Tesco spokesperson said that the retailer hopes "both parties can agree a way forward to avoid industrial action".

The spokesperson refuted union claims that the strike is likely to disrupt Tesco deliveries in the Yorkshire and Humber regions. "If the strike does go ahead, we do not expect it to cause disruption for our customers as we have a robust contingency plan in place," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also denied the union accusation that Tesco has threatened "disciplinary action" against Tesco-employed warehouse staff who refuse to work in support of the drivers.

However, Tesco emphasised that it is supporting ongoing discussions between the union and Eddie Stobart. It is understood that Tesco has offered the drivers in excess of 100 vacancies across its logistics network.

"Our former colleagues have been offered positions in the warehouse at Doncaster, and other transport vacancies in Tesco's UK business. We continue to work closely with the Stobart Group and the Tesco roles remain open to the Doncaster drivers, in addition to the positions that Eddie Stobart Ltd have offered within their network," the spokesperson said.

Eddie Stobart told just-food earlier today that it has offered the drivers 120 alternate positions. However, the union claimed that these jobs were unacceptable to the drivers because they were either not local or offered reduced terms compared to the contracts that they are currently on.