Disruption for shoppers

Tesco workers prepare to strike at Christmas


Tesco stores across Scotland will be hit

Tesco shoppers across Scotland face empty shelves and disrupted online orders in the run-up to Christmas as two unions have announced strike action in a dispute over pay. 

Unite and Usdaw members voted in favour of industrial action that will affect warehouse workers and HGV drivers at Tesco distribution sites across the UK, including the Livingston depot which provides stock to all Tesco Stores across Scotland.  

The strike action follows rejection of what Unite describes as a “derisory” 4% pay offer which they say amounts to a pay cut when taking the headline rate of inflation into account.

Union members will walk out on Monday 20 December. Unite said its members will not return before Christmas, while Usdaw’s action concludes on Christmas Eve.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tesco is a multi-billion pounds profitable company built on the back of our members.

“We are talking about the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer, and the best they offer their workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the pandemic is a real-terms pay cut.

“Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and it will be giving its full support to our members based in Livingston until this dispute is resolved.”

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Unite regional officer Willie Thomson said: “It’s time Tesco rewarded its exceptionally hard working and loyal workforce in distribution.

“The workers have kept us fed throughout this pandemic and after contributing to the exceptional profits of Tesco they fully deserve a significant pay rise.

“Tesco needs to put its customers and workforce first, settle this dispute or risk shortages over the festive period. 

“Tesco says ‘This Christmas nothing is stopping us’ well with the full support of Unite nothing is going to stop our members in their fight for a fair wage deal.”

Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw National Officer said: “Our members have sent a clear message, with this high turnout and strong support for industrial action. We hope that the company is listening and that they will return to the negotiating table with a better deal that is acceptable to our members.”

The company said its offer was one of the highest awards made within its distribution business in the last 25 years and that it had contingency plans to mitigate the impact of strike action.

“Our distribution colleagues have worked tirelessly through the pandemic in order to keep products moving for customers,” said a spokesperson.

“The pay offer we have made is a fair recognition of this, and is one of the highest awards made within our distribution business in the last 25 years, building on our highly competitive pay and rewards package.

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

“We are disappointed that some have voted to proceed, and we have contingency plans in place to help mitigate any impacts.

“We have worked hard to deliver Christmas for our customers and are confident we will be able to fulfil our plans.”

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