Workers at four Tesco distribution centres plan to go on strike in the days leading up to Christmas.

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Approximately 1200 workers including warehouse staff and HGV drivers at depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster plan action starting on December 16, the BBC reported.

The confrontation followed an offer from Tesco of a 4% pay rise, dismissed by trade union Unite as a “real-terms pay cut” in a climate of high inflation. Tesco however said it had offered a fair deal and that it would mitigate any disruption.

A Unite spokesperson claimed that the industrial action could lead to product shortages as grocers and retailers more widely battle to navigate widespread supply chain difficulties.

However, a Tesco spokeswoman was confident that it would be able to fulfil customers’ needs in the vital Christmas period.

She said: “Our distribution colleagues have worked tirelessly through the pandemic in order to keep products moving for customers. The pay offer we have made is a fair recognition of this.

“We welcome the decision by our colleagues at the sites who have voted against industrial action. We are disappointed that some have voted to proceed, and we have contingency plans in place to help mitigate any impacts.”

If the action goes ahead, there will first be a 48-hour stoppage starting on December 16 at Didcot and Doncaster, followed by five days from December 20. Further action is planned at the two sites starting on December 30 and January 5. 

A continuous, “all-out” strike at Antrim and Belfast is scheduled to begin on December 16.


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