Moran Logistics has been served a notice of potential industrial action, after the transfer of 100 drivers into its employment from Arla Foods yesterday (8 March), according to union Unite.

A Unite spokesman confirmed to that the dairy drivers will now participate in a ballot that will run from 16-23 March, “with a view, if necessary, to take action prior to and around Easter”.

The dispute began following a decision by Arla Foods to outsource its outbound logistics operation in Leeds to Moran Logistics.

A spokesman from Arla Foods told last week: “In what continues to be a challenging period for the dairy industry, we’ve needed to review our operations to improve our efficiency and remain competitive. This has been key to our decision to outsource the outbound logistics operation run from the Leeds transport hub to Moran Logistics.”

He added that under TUPE regulations, contracts of employment including existing terms and conditions for all affected employees, will transfer to Moran Logistics. “We remain in communication with representatives of all those affected and we are committed to supporting our colleagues as we go through these changes,” he said.

Following the decision, both Unite and the GMB union criticised Arla Foods for refusing to supply financial information to justify the transfer; and Moran for not recognising the unions for collective bargaining purposes.

Rachel Dix, GMB regional officer, said: "Our members feel that Arla is relinquishing all responsibility for a long-serving, loyal workforce. This is compounded by the company's refusal to share key information on how cost savings can be generated by this transfer. In the absence of this detail, we can only conclude that both pay and jobs will be put at risk. This has to be challenged.”

Matt Draper, Unite national officer for road transport, said: "Unless Moran Logistics gets around the table for meaningful negotiations about recognising the unions and guaranteeing our members’ terms and conditions, the drivers could be striking over the forthcoming Easter holiday.”

Moran Logistics has not yet responded to a request for comment.