Eddie Stobart drivers facing redundancy at Tesco's Doncaster DC look set to commence a second period of strike action next week, after talks between the operator and union Unite broke down.

Unite rejected an improved severance deal for its 180 member drivers tabled at talks on the 19 October, despite Eddie Stobart claiming the enhanced package was worth an additional £1m.

Further talks had been expected towards the end of this week but have now collapsed against the threat of a 72-hour walkout.

Unite regional officer, Harriet Eisner, said: “Stobart had a real opportunity to settle this damaging dispute which is hitting its client, Tesco, by coming forward with a fair offer – but they threw their toys out of the pram in a fit of pique and walked away.

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

“Unite is keen to negotiate a fair and just settlement but Eddie Stobart has shown a lack of seriousness in trying to settle this dispute.”


However, David Pickering, Eddie Stobart MD, believers it is the union that is not engaging fully with them. "We are not just disappointed by Unite's strategy during these consultations, but are also baffled by their whole approach and feel the drivers are really losing out.

“Just 10 minutes after Unite agreed a meeting date to discuss an improved offer, we received final notification of further industrial action.  We were also very surprised and bewildered by Unite's request to conduct negotiations over the telephone, which we believe is wholly inappropriate when there is so much at stake here for the affected drivers.

" It is our belief that these consultations and negotiations should be structured, and held in person, to achieve the best possible outcome for the drivers," he said.

The affected drivers had been offered statutory redundancy pay, which would be £430 for each year of service (capped). However, MT understands that this was increased to around £550 ahead of last week's talks.

Eddie Stobart has offered the drivers alternative driving jobs, and Tesco has offered warehouse positions at the DC. However, Unite says the driving jobs are too far away with worse pay and conditions, while the warehouse roles are not appropriate.

Unite had suspended a second bout of industrial action ahead of its meeting with Eddie Stobart management on the 19 October.