Former drivers who used to work on the Tesco distribution contract in Doncaster will stage a silent demonstration outside their employment tribunal hearing in Sheffield tomorrow.
The crux of their case is that Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) and Tesco had together agreed to make 184 drivers redundant well before the workers had been consulted.
Unite, the country’s largest union, is supporting the unfair dismissal claim on behalf of the 184 drivers at the employment tribunal. The union is also saying that a ‘protected award’ for the drivers should follow for the companies failing to genuinely engage in consultation.
The drivers will be protesting outside the ET offices at 14 East Parade, Sheffield from 10am tomorrow.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Basically, our members are saying that Tesco and Stobarts colluded to sack our members who had fought hard for terms and conditions over many years so that they could be replaced by cheaper drivers.
“Since then the company has been employing agency drivers to do exactly the same jobs as they did, but on worse terms and conditions.”
The origins of the dispute go back to August 2012 when the transport workforce was transferred from Tesco to ESL and then in September, ESL issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers would be re-employed once the 90-days were up.
This sparked a four month dispute. Eventually the drivers voted to accept a package from ESL which meant that they finished work in January 2013.
A number of the former Tesco drivers are still working in the industry either as self-employed drivers or for agencies – however, a good proportion remain unemployed.