Second strike called in Tesco truckers' dispute

A second strike has been called in the row over changes to working conditions for drivers based at Tesco's Livingston distribution depot.

Submitted by Ed on June 1, 2007

The Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) say 150 drivers are to join the 24-hour strike next Tuesday. Tesco have strongly denied claims that drivers based in Livingston had been threatened with job losses if they did not sign a new contract. A Tesco spokesman has accused the union of "following their own agenda".

Almost 150 Tesco delivery drivers went on strike for two days last week in a row over new contracts and plans to transfer the depot to premises 500m away.

The Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) claims drivers had been told they would lose their jobs if they did not sign a new contract, which they claimed includes worse working terms and conditions. The union says the new contracts will mean losses to the drivers of between £3,000 and £6,000, and derecognition of their union as the depot moves location. The T&G claim that drivers voted by 126 to 6 to strike in a ballot, where more than nine out of 10 members took part.

Tony Trench, regional industrial organiser for the T&G section of Unite, said the strike action would take place amidst growing local community support. He said: "Tesco is used to getting its own way but the local community is incensed by the way they are being treated.

"Much of the support for the drivers is from their families and I'm delighted that a women's action committee has been formed."

The union said drivers had been angered by a "provocative" letter received from Tesco instructing them not to come to work for seven days as a "cooling off period". Ron Webb, national secretary for transport in the T&G section of Unite, said the letter was outside his experience as a trade union official and questioned its legal status.

T&G Unite shop stewards will meet in London this Saturday to discuss the next stages of the national campaign, including talks on a national strike ballot.