Drivers to ballot for strike action over Tesco contract handover

Tesco distribution centre, Middle Bank, Doncaster.
Tesco distribution centre, Middle Bank, Doncaster.

HUNDREDS of lorry drivers will be balloted for industrial action amid fears they could lose their jobs after their contracts are transferred this weekend.

Tesco has switched staff at its distribution centre in Middle Bank, at Doncaster Carr, to work for haulage giant Eddie Stobart, which is taking over the running of the operation.

The handover of staff comes on on Saturday morning with drivers being told under their new contracts the distribution centres could be moved to Goole or Barlborough in a bid to save thousands of miles from the supermarket’s haulage network.

Unions at the depot say the staff are worried about their future as they have received no assurances over their long-term plans.

The centre employs 200 drivers, who deliver to the company’s stores across the north of England.

Harriet Eisner, official for the union Unite, which represents the drivers, said: “It is a TUPE transfer which is supposed to protect terms and conditions. We’ve been in talks with Eddie Stobart who have not been able to give us guarantees about what is going to happen after this weekend.

“We have tried to get assurances about what will happen in the medium to long term, a few weeks down the line, but they are refusing to give them.

“Our members are very concerned because they are fearing the worst for their jobs, and Eddie Stobart are doing nothing to reassure them.

“All they are saying is they don’t know what’s happening.”

She said there was concern that, because Eddie Stobart already has its own fleet and drivers, the company may not keep the Tesco staff on.

Tesco said its other distribution depots had already been transferred to Eddie Stobart.

A Tesco spokesman said: “As part of a recent review of our distribution network, we announced plans to transfer the transport operation at our Doncaster Distribution Centre to Eddie Stobart Ltd.

“This is in line with Tesco’s wider distribution network in the region. We are now going through a period of consultation, working with affected colleagues and their union representatives from Unite, to help them through this transition.”