Striking HGV drivers working for Muller have had to postpone their industrial action after animal rights activists targeted the factory they were in dispute with, according to Unite.

Around 70 drivers at the Gloucestershire site launched a series of strikes after accusing the milk and yogurt firm of excessive rota demands and reneging on an agreement it made this year.

The staff, responsible for delivering milk, flavoured milk and potted cream to M&S and Waitrose stores nationwide, stopped working on 25 August for three days and were due to strike again on 1 September for several more days.

But Unite told that the strikes had been postponed for the time being.

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“It’s not because the dispute has been resolved,” said a Unite spokesman.

“It’s because animal rights activists are protesting outside, which is disrupting dairy supplies.”

The union was unable to say when the strikes would recommence.

A spokesman for Muller Milk & Ingredients said: “Following the introduction of rota changes, which reflect the evolving needs of our business, a small number of logistics employees at our Severnside site voted in favour of industrial action.

“It is important to stress that these changes do not relate to pay and we have thorough plans in place to ensure that deliveries of dairy products to our customers are not affected,” the spokesman added.