Tesco shoppers could face empty shelves in the run-up to Christmas in many parts of the UK as its logistics workers will launch strike action over a pay dispute, UK trade union Unite has announced.
The dispute resulted from the retailer offering the workers a 4% pay hike - a figure well below the current retail price index (RPI) inflation rate of 6%.
The workers participating in the strike, including warehouse and HGV drivers, are based at Tesco’s depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham commented, “Our members have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep Tesco’s shelves filled throughout the pandemic. At the very least, the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer should be making our members a decent pay offer.
“Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members, and it will be giving its full and total support to our members at Tesco until this dispute is resolved.”
Proposed Strike Action
The sites at Didcot and Doncaster will see an initial 48 hours stoppage beginning at 06:00 on Thursday 16 December.
It will be followed by a further five-day, pre-Christmas stoppage beginning on 20 December.
Another 48-hour stoppage will begin on 30 December at both sites, followed by a three-day strike, beginning 5 January 2022.
Elsewhere, Unite members at the Antrim and Belfast Tesco distribution centres will begin an all-out continuous strike from 07:00 on 16 December.
Unite is also balloting its members for strike action at Tesco’s distribution centre in Livingston. The ballot closes today (6 December).
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said, “Unite is taking strike action as a last resort, having exhausted all other options.
“Even at this late stage, Tesco could still avoid severe disruption in its stores by returning to the negotiating table and making a greatly improved offer.”