Socialist Worker

Bosses blink first in Doncaster Tesco lorry drivers' dispute

by Dave Sewell
Published Thu 13 Dec 2012
Issue No. 2333

Strikers outside Tesco in Doncaster (Pic: http://www.guysmallman.com/Guy Smallman )

Strikers outside Tesco in Doncaster (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Striking Tesco lorry drivers in Doncaster have voted to accept a deal from their new bosses Eddie Stobart.

They have been on all-out strike since Thursday of last week, following five days of strikes earlier this year.

Solid picketing round the clock has caused immense disruption in the past three days, turning the area around their distribution centre into a “truck park”.

The drivers’ contracts were outsourced to Stobart in summer—and almost immediately the company gave them notice that they were to be sacked.

They received redundancy notices earlier this week. The only alternative employment offered by either company was many miles out of the area.

The full details of the proposed settlement are not yet available, but they are understood to involve more secure redundancy packages.

An aggressive plan to collectively punish the drivers for any sick leave over the Christmas period has also been withdrawn. Some 150 of the 180 drivers voted for the deal, which their Unite union hailed as a “victory”.

Driver Mark Elliot told Socialist Worker that striking had “definitely” made a difference—and thanked everyone who has given them support. “We’ve lost our jobs, but that was inevitable,” he said. “And we’ve come out with a better deal than we started with.”

Many drivers saw the dispute as a test case for the bosses, who were hoping for an easy victory before moving on to drive down terms and conditions in other depots using the same outsourcing tricks.

“I wouldn’t say I was happy, because I don’t have a job any more,” said Kev Fawcett, who has worked on the site for 24 years. “But it will make them think twice about doing it again. Now they know the disruption we can cause, that will be the thought in the back of their minds.”


Bromley bin workers call action off

Meanwhile bin workers employed by Veolia in Bromley, south east London, have suspended their strike planned for tomorrow, Friday. They are also members of the Unite union.

They walked out unofficially in October over the sacking of four colleagues, and only returned to work to begin an official strike ballot.

Days before the strike was set to start bosses agreed to take back the four—although the strike ballot remains live if they don’t honour their promises.

» All-out strike can beat Tesco


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Thu 13 Dec 2012, 16:04 GMT
Issue No. 2333
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