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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 December 2012

Nothing to lose - Tesco drivers vote for indefinite strike

Alistair Tice
Striking Tesco drivers bring a tank to the picket line with a Unite banner attached

Striking Tesco drivers bring a tank to the picket line with a Unite banner attached   (Click to enlarge)

180 Tesco drivers, members of Unite the union, at the supermarket giant's distribution hub in Doncaster have announced an indefinite strike from 7 December.

They have voted to reject the latest "completely unsatisfactory" offer to settle a long-running dispute.

Having already taken eight days of strike action, a planned four-day strike was suspended to allow talks with conciliation service ACAS.

But conditions attached to the company's offer would mean substantial cuts to drivers' redundancy terms and their chances of re-employment.

In August, Tesco, not content with 3.8 billion profit last year, transferred their Doncaster transport workforce to Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) to cut costs.

Then ESL, whose own drivers are on 2.50 an hour less than the Tesco drivers, issued notice of termination of employment on 5 September. There was no promise that the drivers will be re-employed once the 90 days are up.

So the Tesco drivers feel they have nothing to lose now by going on all-out strike and hitting Tesco hard in its busiest Christmas period.

ESL claim that it can service the Doncaster distribution centre using its existing network of drivers and vehicles is untrue.

During the earlier strikes ESL had to bring in agency and scab drivers.

As well as strong picketing, the drivers will leaflet customers at Tesco stores and hold a march into Doncaster.

And the tank, which appeared on the picket line last month, is expected to be seen again!

A victory for the Tesco drivers could be vital in stopping the 'race to the bottom' that Tesco and other big businesses are trying to drive through.

These workers need the support of the whole trade union movement.

lynncheetham@yahoo.co.uk

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In The Socialist 5 December 2012:


 

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