Asda said it was confident customers would get “everything they need” for Christmas after HGV drivers working for Wincanton said they would strike in a row over pay.
The union said around 80 lorry drivers working on the Asda contract at the Rochdale distribution centre were angry at being paid £1.24 an hour less than their counterparts doing the same role at the Lutterworth depot in Leicestershire.
Unite claimed the Rochdale drivers’ overtime, night, weekend and bank holiday rates were also less.
It said the strikes over the Christmas period would mean a “nationwide shortage of chilled foods” at Asda’s stores.
But the retail giant said it employed a large number of delivery drivers and it did not foresee any problems.
Asda holds operator licences in every traffic area authorising a total of more than 2,400 vehicles.
A Wincanton spokesman said: “We can confirm that we are currently in constructive talks with Unite and Asda to find a solution which is satisfactory for all parties based at our site in Rochdale.
“We have made a competitive offer which we hope is accepted, and which is currently under consideration by Unite and its members.”
Unite said the problems arose when the HGV drivers at both Rochdale and Lutterworth were transferred by TUPE from EV Cargo in 2021.
It said the Lutterworth drivers were then employed directly by Asda and the Rochdale drivers were taken on by Wincanton.
“Our members are sick of being treated as second class workers and are demanding pay parity with their colleagues who are doing the same job,” said Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.
“Both ASDA and Wincanton are wealthy companies that can more than afford to right this wrong.”
An Asda spokesman said the negotiations were between Wincanton and Unite and it encouraged them to reach an agreement: “We employ a large number of Asda delivery-driver colleagues who deliver to our stores every day and we are confident that customers will be able to get everything they need in store to enjoy a wonderful Christmas,” the spokesman said.