The strike by Booker Retail delivery drivers, which threatened to hit deliveries to 1,500 convenience stores in London and the south east ahead of Christmas, has been called off at the eleventh hour.

Unite the union said this week that the strike by the 45-strong workforce, due on Thursday (23 December) and Christmas Eve, was suspended until 31 January after Tesco subsidiary Booker Retail agreed to undertake a pay review in January, a move the union claim had previously been reneged on the company earlier in the year.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Booker management has seen sense and an in-depth review of pay will now happen in January that will take into account the recent pay rises across the sector.

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“Of course, we wait to see what happens now. Unite remains dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of all its HGV driver members, including those at Booker.”

Unite regional officer Paul Travers said: “The review, which was part of the pay deal agreed in October, means we have suspended the strike action this week until 31 January to enable it to take place in a constructive spirit.”

Booker Retail declined to comment.