Strike action by nearly one hundred and fifty Tesco distribution drivers at Livingston near Edinburgh now looks inevitable after the company’s senior managers told the recently merged Unite (T&G and Amicus) union that they intend to derecognise the union.
Ron Webb, an official of the union, said after this morning’s meeting broke down that it was quite clear Tesco never had any intention of agreeing a deal with the Livingston drivers.
“We were within an ace of an arrangement on protection of pay and conditions in the forthcoming Livingston site transfer when the Tesco managers produced a statement stating quite clearly they wanted to derecognise us,” he said. “This was duplicitous behaviour as those same managers had previously and unambiguously said they would deal with us as the recognised trade union. Indeed, they admitted their statement had been prepared in advance of the meeting. This is an outrageous way to treat not just the union but the drivers who have exercised their free choice to be part of it.”
The Livingston depot supplies all the Tesco stores across Scotland which means around one hundred supermarkets. Shoppers now face the uncertainty of getting their weekly and daily shopping.
Drivers had previously voted by 126 to 6 to strike, in a ballot where over nine out of ten took part, but had not set any dates for action in response to a company request for talks. Those drivers will now meet tomorrow (Saturday 12th May) to decide when the action will start and what nature it will take.
Shop stewards representing over five thousand key workers at Tesco’s main distribution depots have previously rejected the supermarket chain’s “divide and rule” tactic. Following a recent meeting, they agreed to launch a national campaign against Tesco to defend against changes to their pay, terms and conditions.