NI Tesco distribution centre workers to strike from December 16

NI Tesco distribution centre workers to strike from December 16

Up to 1,200 workers at Tesco distribution centres across the UK, including staff in Antrim and Belfast, are set to strike in the run-up to Christmas, the Unite union says.

The workers, including warehouse staff and HGV drivers, are based at sites in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster.

Unite members at the Antrim and Belfast Tesco distribution centres will begin an all-out continuous strike from 7am on 16 December.

The industrial action comes after the supermarket offered a 4% pay rise which Unite said amounted to a “real terms pay cut” due to inflation, but Tesco said the deal was fair and that it would mitigate any disruption.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep Tesco’s shelves filled throughout the pandemic. At the very least the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer should be making our members a decent pay offer.”

She warned the strikes could lead to shortages of some goods, at a time when supermarkets are already struggling to source what they need amid supply chain issues.

Unite says the Didcot and Doncaster sites will see an initial 48 hour stoppage beginning at 6am on 16 December, followed by a further five day pre-Christmas stoppage beginning on 20 December, a 48-hour stoppage beginning on 30 December and a three-day stoppage beginning on 5 January 2022.

The union said the pay rise offered by the firm was well below the current retail price index rate of inflation which is 6%.

A Tesco spokeswoman said that customers could be confident it would fulfil it plans over the Christmas period.

“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,” she said.

“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.”