Wincanton HGV  drivers on its Asda contract have accepted a 9.5% pay deal in a move which avoids the prospect of supply problems at ASDA supermarkets this Christmas.

Over 80 HGV drivers employed by Wincanton on an outsourced contract and responsible for delivering food to ASDA’s regional distribution centres had begun to ballot for industrial action in a dispute over pay.

The drivers are based at Wincanton’s depot in Rochdale and transport goods to regional distribution centres, covering an area from Falkirk to Bristol. Unite said the drivers were often required to work up to 15 hours. The drivers were originally offered a 7.4% increase on their basic pay, which was rejected as a "real terms pay cut".

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However, following the announcement of a ballot in October which was set to run until 21 November, Unite said that fresh negotiations were held and a "vastly improved" deal of a 9.5% increase, giving a basic pay rate of £14.97 was accepted by the drivers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This was an important win for our members at Wincanton, who were not prepared to endure low pay rates any longer. Unite’s commitment to always focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members is paying off.”

Unite regional officer Kenny Rowe said: “The pay deal was a significant victory for our members on the Wincanton ASDA contract, Unite will be looking to build on this pay deal in future negotiations.”