ASLEF backing for Tesco strikers

30 May 2007

ASLEF has sent messages of support to Tesco workers on strike at a distribution centre at Livingstone in Scotland. The strikers are members of Unite, the union formed by the merger of the Transport and General Workers and Amicus.

Last week saw Tesco distribution drivers go on a three day strike, from Thursday to Saturday, following a walkout over pay and recognition. The action hit food and other supplies at nearly 100 of the company’s stores in the region.

The action was called after a 126 to six vote in favour of strike action at Livingston on a 90 per cent turnout. According to Unite only 25 per cent of normal truckloads left the depot and greater disruption could soon follow. The union says that unless Tesco does not change its stance on recognition of the union and new contractual conditions, it will announce a nationwide ballot of around 5,000 drivers in five additional depots this week.

Under Tesco’s contract changes, which relate to a move to a new depot in Livingstone, drivers could suffer losses of up to £6,000 in overtime and other payments.

Ron Webb, the T&G/Unite national secretary for transport, said: 'We will inform the company of our intention this week unless they make a U-turn.'

Tony Trench, T&G section of Unite regional industrial organiser, said Tesco's decision to de-recognise the union plus telling drivers to sign up to a new deal by 18 May or lose their jobs were ‘unacceptable pressures’.

He added, ‘What makes this situation worse is that before Tesco had started a meeting with us and national officials in London, they told the Livingston drivers what the final outcome would be. That was the final flashpoint for the drivers and confirmed we are dealing with a cynical company which cannot be trusted.’

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