Last-minute talks are being conducted today between Indesit UK and union Unite over the pay and conditions of over 200 drivers and warehouse staff at the white goods manufacturer - just over 36 hours before the first of three separate strikes is due to start.

Following an overwhelming vote in favour of strike action last month, staff at 12 Indesit sites are scheduled to walk out for 24 hours from 6am on Friday (21 August), with a further 48-hour strike from the same hour on 27 August and another 24-hour strike on 1 September.

The first of a series of work-to-rule periods, scheduled to take place just before each strike, began as planned at midnight last night, a Unite spokesman has confirmed.

The strike action - which will affect Indesit’s sites in Andover, Barnsley, Chepstow, Gateshead, Grangemouth, Hayes, Mallusk, Raunds, Sharpness, Trafford Park, Wednesbury and West Thurrock - could severely disrupt deliveries of up to 16,000 items a week to users and trade outlets across the UK, said the union.

A spokesman for Indesit UK told last week it remained “committed to dialogue with Unite and hopeful the action they have called can be averted”.