Milk supplies to retail stores in northern England over Easter could be disrupted, two trade unions have warned, amid a dispute over jobs at Arla Foods moving to a logistics firm.

The Unite and GMB trade unions have hit out at the dairy giant and Moran Logistics over the switch.

The unions said Arla is refusing to supply the financial information to justify the transfer of the jobs and claimed Moran Logistics will not recognise Unite and GMB for collective bargaining purposes on behalf of the drivers.

Unite and GMB have warned milk supplies to supermarkets in northern England could be disrupted over Easter if the 100 drivers do not have pay and conditions recognised by Moran Logistics. 

"The drivers … are being dumped by Arla. The company has repeatedly refused to share with the two unions the financial information to support its decision. The continued refusal to supply this data endorses the joint unions' belief that pay and conditions will be attacked once the transfer has been completed. Morans' refusal to recognise the unions strengthens this view further," Unite national officer for road transport Matt Draper said.

"Unless Morans Logistics gets around the table for meaningful negotiations about recognising the unions and guaranteeing our members’ terms and conditions, the drivers could be striking over the forthcoming Easter holiday which will disrupt milk distribution to supermarkets, such as Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco, in the north of England."

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By GlobalData

GMB and Unite plan to service notice on Moran’s Logistics on Monday (9 March) for a ballot for strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike if the assurances sought on pay and jobs are not forthcoming.

Arla said the move would help improve its efficiency and said the drivers' terms and conditions would move across to Morans Logistics.

"In what continues to be a challenging period for the dairy industry, we’ve needed to review our operations to improve our efficiency and remain competitive," the Lurpak owner said.

"Under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations, contracts of employment including existing terms and conditions for all the colleagues affected will transfer to Moran Logistics. We remain in communication with representatives of all those affected and we are committed to supporting our colleagues as we go through these changes."

Officials at Moran Logistics could not be reached for immediate comment.