Tesco risks empty shelves in Yorkshire after pay offer sparks Doncaster strike ballot

Hundreds of Tesco logistics staff in Doncaster are taking part in a strike ballot over pay in November.

Tesco logistics workers are to hold a strike ballot.
Tesco logistics workers are to hold a strike ballot.

Tesco is risking empty shelves this winter after sparking a nationwide strike ballot amongst logistics workers, including hundreds of staff in Doncaster, with an ‘offensive’ pay offer, Unite union has warned.

Tesco described its pay offer as “fair and competitive”.The ballot of 3,500 Tesco lorry drivers and warehouse workers for strike action at the Doncaster, Belfast, Didcot, and Thurrock regional distribution centres comes after a four per cent offer was rejected.Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tesco made more than £3 billion during the pandemic yet pretends it cannot afford to pay the workers responsible for such staggering profits a decent pay rise.“Offering four per cent is offensive when RPI inflation is running at nearly five per cent. If our members vote to strike, Tesco can expect Unite to go all the way to support their fight for a fair pay rise.”Each of the four ballots for the distribution centres opens this Tuesday (2 November) and closes on 23 November, with the exception of Belfast, which closes on 26 November. The strikes would impact Tesco stores across Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the south of England.During negotiations, Tesco has made it clear that it does not believe it needs to substantially raise the wages of lorry drivers. Despite well-publicised driver shortages, the supermarket claims it has a waiting list of 400 drivers keen to work for the company.Unite senior shop steward Gary Barlow said: “Tesco’s management could not have made their disdain for the workers, who ensured the company’s coffers overflowed during the pandemic, any clearer.”

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that Unite has decided to ballot for potential industrial action at a small number of our distribution sites, in Thurrock, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster. We have put forward a fair and competitive pay offer to our colleagues, which is the highest one-year award made within our distribution business in the last 25 years.”

Tesco added that the offer is 0.9% above the current CPI rate of inflation and was 2% above this rate on July 1st when the pay award is applicable from.