Doncaster drivers’ demo at Westminster

Doncaster, UK: Tesco supermarket drivers in Doncaster, who face losing their jobs by Christmas, are taking their protest to the Tesco Express store near the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (31 October).

About 30 drivers will be protesting to raise the profile of the dispute with members of parliament.

The demonstration  will coincide with a three-day strike – Wednesday (31 October), Thursday (1 November) and Friday, (2 November) – by the 180 Doncaster drivers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union.

Unite said that the three-day strike would cause widespread disruption to deliveries to Tesco stores across the Yorkshire and Humber region. Last week, Unite accused Eddie Stobart (ESL), the drivers’ new employer, of ‘walking away’ from talks that could have settled the dispute.

Unite regional officer, Steve Clark said: “The drivers will be taking their case to London on Wednesday to raise the profile of the dispute with MPs and other opinion formers.

“Tesco behaved disgracefully when it transferred the Tesco drivers to ESL in August – and this betrayal of the hard working drivers needs to gain wider coverage.

“Our members, who face losing their jobs by Christmas, will be striking for three days to save their jobs. The strike starts at 00.15 on Wednesday and runs for 72 hours.

“Unite is keen to negotiate a fair and just settlement – but ESL seems intent on macho posturing rather than genuine negotiations.”

In August, the transport workforce was transferred from Tesco to ESL and then on 5 September, ESL issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers will be re-employed once the 90-days are up.

Unite believes that there is no need for Stobart’s to get rid of these drivers and does not  believe that the firm has the capacity in its existing network to properly service the Tesco distribution centre at Doncaster.

ESL would have to recruit new drivers on worse terms and conditions to run the operation, once it has sacked the current workforce.

The Tesco drivers took two days of strike action earlier this month- with great support from the Doncaster public – after ESL issued 90-days’ notice of termination of employment.

Unite had campaigned for these jobs to be safeguarded once the TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking [Protection of Employment] arrangements) came into force at the beginning of August.

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