Workers at healthcare operator Movianto’s Bedford warehouse will take strike action after Unite claimed it was refusing to recognise the union for collective bargaining purposes.

It said more than 50 staff wanted the union to be officially recognised but that the logistics firm had “strongly resisted” the moves.

Movianto provides storage and distribution services for medical equipment and medication and Unite said industrial action would significantly disrupt the medical centres the company supplies.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members want formal recognition for their union and it is reprehensible that Movianto is sticking its fingers in its ears over this issue.

“Unite does what it says on the trade union tin – we fight for the jobs, pay and conditions of our members and the workers at Movianto have the full support of their union in this fight for trade union representation.”

Unite regional officer Richard Gates added: “Our members are being forced to head to the picket line as Movianto refuses to seriously engage with Unite over formal recognition.

“This is something our members clearly want, as shown by the overwhelming ballot result.”

In a statement from Movianto, it described the drivers as “the backbone” of its business.

The company added that Unite had set a deadline of 15 December for a response about union recognition and that Movianto had not formally rejected the request.

“A recent ballot was conducted among a part only of Movianto employees regarding the potential strike action concerning Unite’s recognition,” the statement said.

“At Movianto, we are dedicated to fostering an environment where our team members have a voice and feel heard on matters that affect them. To this end, we have engaged directly with our teammates, communicating the improvements we’ve implemented and outlining our plans for the year 2024.

“We remain committed to open dialogue and constructive engagement to address any concerns and uphold a positive working relationship with our valued team members.”