HGV drivers at dairy firm Muller have resumed their strikes over “excessive rota demands” after industrial action was halted due to disruption by animal rights activists.

Nearly 70 staff responsible for delivering milk and other dairy products to Marks & Spencer and Waitrose stores nationwide have taken nine days of strike action since 25 August, claiming the imposed changes are detrimental to their quality of life.

A protest involving animal rights activists at one of Muller’s sites brought the lorry drivers’ action to a temporary halt earlier this month, but the Unite union said it had now resumed.

Strikes at the Stonehouse factory in Gloucestershire will continue today (23 September) and then on the 24th, 29th and 30th and 1st October.

More strikes will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.

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Unite said the strikes would disrupt the supply chain of milk products to the Muller sites’ main customers and that supplies to Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which receive deliveries from the Stonehouse plant, will also be disrupted.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Muller knows very well that the new rotas will negatively impact our members’ quality of life because it recently signed a deal with Unite ruling such changes out.

“So, Muller should step back from breaking that agreement. Our members have Unite’s full backing in the stand they are taking.”

Muller has previously said the rota changes reflected the “evolving needs” of its business, did not relate to pay and it had plans in place so ensure deliveries were not affected.