Tesco/Stobart drivers head to Acas talks

Unite says there has been strong community support in Doncaster as redundancy threat means 180 drivers could lose their jobs early next month.
by - 15th November 2012, 7.35 GMT

Talks to try to resolve the 4-month Tesco drivers dispute in Doncaster begin this morning brokered by the conciliation service, Acas.

(Pictured: drivers have taken 5 days of strike action at the Doncaster distribution centre)

Unite says it is going into the talks with the 180 drivers’ new employer, Eddie Stobart, in ‘a positive and constructive frame of mind’.

The company issued redundancy notices in September to all the drivers transferred from the vast Tesco distribution centre earlier this year, which means they could lose their jobs before Christmas.

Eddie Stobart Ltd as indicated it intends to table a fresh offer at today’s talks.

However, the drivers say they do not believe the company can fulfil its contract to supply Tesco stores across Yorkshire and the Humber unless they remain in their jobs.

Strikers accuse the company of inflaming matters by effectively ‘locking out’ some drivers by refusing to allow them to work scheduled shifts immediately before strike action last week.

Managers have threatened to dock their pay even though Unite offered not to put pickets in place until those shifts had ended.

Unite has campaigned for the 180 drivers posts to be safeguarded under TUPE regulations which came into force at the beginning of August.

UnionNews understands negotiators will be seeking substantial improvements in redundancy terms offered to those drivers who opt to leave.

They will also be calling for the company to make clear what is likely to happen to the workforce in the immediate future and at what cost.

At present, any drivers who seek re-employment with Eddie Stobart face substantial cuts in their hourly rates and other conditions.

You can watch our film report on the dispute here: