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Tesco faces distribution centre chaos as strikes loom

Tesco is facing Christmas disruption as growing numbers of staff at the company’s distribution centres have voted to strike the week before Christmas.

Earlier this week around 1,200 workers, including warehouse staff and HGV drivers, threatened to strike at the company’s distribution centres in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster beginning December 16.

In two separate ballots covering nine Tesco distribution centres, 5,000 Usdaw members voted 73% and 84% in favour of industrial action in disputes over pay. They had rejected a 4% annual pay increase and plan to strike between Monday 20 December and Christmas Eve. The sites involved include Daventry Clothing, Goole, Hinckley, Lichfield, Livingston, Magor (both trunk and main sites), Peterborough and Southampton.

Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw national officer said: “Our members have sent a clear message, with this high turnout and strong support for industrial action. We hope that the company is listening and that they will return to the negotiating table with a better deal that is acceptable to our members.

“Retail distribution workers are key workers who delivered essential services throughout the pandemic, which in turn delivered a 16.5% increase in profit to Tesco for the first half of the year. These workers deserve a decent pay rise as their reward for what they have done and continue to do day in day out; couple that with the rising cost of living and inflation currently running at 6%, the company needs to do better.

“Industrial action and possible stock shortages in stores in the week before Christmas can be avoided. It needs the company to engage positively in talks with Usdaw and we stand ready to reopen negotiations.”

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