Thousands of Tesco staff have rejected a 4 percent pay rise and plan to strike next week unless a deal is reached.
The unions Usdaw and Unite say both their members – more than 6,000 in total – who are mainly distribution staff and HGV drivers will be taking part in industrial action on December 16th.
Unite says the 4 percent pay rise was more of a “real terms pay cut” due to inflation.
It said it was not in keeping with the cost of living, which went up by 4.2 percent earlier this year. This is its highest rate in almost 10 years.
Tesco, however, says the pay rise was “fair”. A Tesco spokesperson said: “ It is one of the highest awards made within our distribution business in the last 25 years, building on our highly competitive pay and rewards package.”
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said Tesco staff had gone “above and beyond” to keep the supermarket’s shelves filled. She added: “At the very least the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer should be making our members a decent pay offer.”
She also warned the action could mean some goods won’t be available ahead of Christmas.
Tesco praised staff who had voted against the strikes but said it had contingency plans to “mitigate any impacts”.
The company said: “We are disappointed that some have voted to proceed, and we have contingency plans in place to help mitigate any impacts. We have worked hard to deliver Christmas for our customers and are confident we will be able to fulfil our plans.”
Strike action is planned at the Didcot and Doncaster sites for 48 hours from 6amo n December 16th. There will also be a 5 day stoppage from December 20th and additional plans for strikes after Christmas.
At the Antrim and Belfast centres, strikes will start at 7am on December 16th.
Usdaw members, meanwhile, voted to take action at 8 sites including Daventry, Hinckley and Southampton.
Earlier, Morrisons had avoided strike action at its distribution centers when union members were offered a 5 percent pay rise.
Unite regional officer Ian McCluskey said: “Unite is determined to build on this pay award in future wage negotiations to ensure that our members continue to receive a fair day’s pay for the work they undertake.”
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