WM 27816 , he new Morrisons distribution centre in Bridgwater, S

Unite is heading into further talks with Morrisons and Wincanton this week emboldened by support among affected members for a vote for industrial action up to a strike.

The union confirmed that 88% of union members among the nearly 400 drivers and mechanics at Morrisons – due to be transferred to Wincanton next month – had voted to hold a full-scale industrial action ballot, with the option to strike, over the supermarket’s plans to outsource their jobs.

Unite did not disclose the turnout figure but a person close to the situation described it as 'pretty good' across the three affected sites.

Unite held a consultative ballot with members last month to establish the depth of feeling around the issue.

Wincanton, Morrisons and the union subsequently held talks last week and are set to return to discussions this Friday (12 July).

Unite national officer for road transport and logistics Adrian Jones said: “We held talks with Morrisons and Wincanton management last week.

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“As a result, we have drawn up a list of demands for Wincanton which wants to take over the contract from next month.”

“We fully expect these demands to be met to give our members confidence and security before we formally enter into discussions with Wincanton about the transfer of our members from Morrisons,” he said.

A spokesman for Morrisons confirmed that “the consultation is continuing” but was unable to add more.

Last month the supermarket chain announced that it would be outsourcing a sizeable slice of its transport operation, alongside several vehicle maintenance departments, to Wincanton as part of a five-year deal.