Socialist Worker

Tesco distribution drivers' strike at Livingston rocks the multinational

by Pat Smith
Issue No. 2053

A three day strike by over 100 Tesco distribution drivers at Livingston, near Edinburgh, rocked the multinational last week.

Jim Docherty from the strike committee said that the action hit Tesco hard. Although agency trucks drove out throughout the day, depot staff revealed that most trucks left without any cargo.

But Jim said that Tesco could ride out this storm and that the drivers could only win their dispute with national action. The T&G section of the Unite union are balloting members for a national strike.

The drivers’ three day strike ended at midnight on Saturday with the first shift back walking through the gates to the sound of the bagpipes.

In a massive show of community solidarity, drivers and their friends and families came together for a huge party with a barbecue and music to mark the end of their strike.

The drivers took strike action when they were told that their union would be derecognised in a forthcoming move to a new depot 500 yards down the road.

They would be asked to leave the T&G and join the Usdaw union, and to sign a contract saying that their conditions could be changed at any time.

The proposed changes would mean the drivers would take home £3-£6,000 less each year. They were warned that they faced dismissal if they did not sign the new contract.

Tesco has been buying up similar sites in the near vicinity of all their depots nationwide.

In a fantastic show of solidarity, Eddie Stobart drivers refused extra payments of £500 to break the strike.

Supporters of the Tesco drivers, including Solidarity members, have met a warm response from prospective Tesco shoppers when they have leafleted the shops asking for a boycott in support of the strike.

Dozens of shoppers turned away, resolving not to shop there.

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Tue 29 May 2007, 18:53 BST
Issue No. 2053
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