Tesco believes it can ‘deliver Christmas’ despite industrial action


Unions have warned Tesco it faces disruption as workers take collective action at distribution centers ahead of Christmas.

The supermarket chain said it was confident it could keep the shelves well stocked and “carry out our plans”, despite the action of Unite and Usdaw unions.

Usdaw said the conflict involved 5,000 members in several warehouses across the country, who will take industrial action after rejecting a 4% annual pay rise.

His announcement on Monday night follows that of union Unite, which also said warehouse workers and would stage a series of strikes in the coming weeks over the wage offer.

Usdaw said its members voted to take action at the Daventry, Goole, Hinckley, Lichfield, Livingston, Magor sites in South Wales, Peterborough and Southampton.

Joanne McGuinness, Country Manager for Usdaw, said: “Our members have sent a clear message, with this strong turnout and strong advocacy support – we hope the company is listening and they will come back to the negotiating table with a better deal that is acceptable to our members.

“Retail distribution workers are key workers who provided essential services throughout the pandemic, which in turn generated a 16.5% increase in Tesco’s profits for the first half of the year. year.

“These workers deserve a decent pay rise as a reward for what they have done and continue to do day in and day out; In addition to the rising cost of living and current inflation of 6%, the company needs to do better.

“Industrial action and possible stockouts in stores in the week leading up to Christmas can be avoided. “

The union said a shutdown would start on December 20 and end on Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, Unite said more than 1,000 of its members at Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster depots would take industrial action after rejecting the same wage deal.

The union said the 4% wage increase was “well below” the current Retail Price Index (RPI) inflation rate of 6%. The current consumer price index (CPI) is 4.2%.

Late Monday, the union also announced that members of Tesco’s distribution center in Livingston would be leaving on December 20 and not returning until Christmas.

Unite’s national officer Adrian Jones said: “Even at this late stage, Tesco could still avoid serious disruption to its stores by returning to the negotiating table and making a significantly improved offer.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “Our colleagues in distribution have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to keep products moving for customers.

“The salary offer we have made is a fair recognition of this and is one of the highest awards awarded within our distribution business over the past 25 years, building on our compensation and very competitive rewards.

“We welcome the decision of our colleagues at the sites who voted against the industrial action.

“We are disappointed that some voted to go ahead and we have contingency plans in place to help mitigate the impacts.

“We have worked hard to bring Christmas to our customers and are confident that we will be able to deliver on our plans. “

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