Tesco has been drawn into the Eddie Stobart Doncaster row as drivers at the DC prepare to start a third wave of strike action tomorrow (6 December).

The supermarket chain, which runs the DC’s warehousing but outsourced the transport operation with 183 drivers to Eddie Stobart in August, has made a point of not commenting on the jobs row until now.

However, after Unite last week rejected the latest offer from Eddie Stobart, a spokeswoman for the chain said: “We are disappointed that the enhanced offer made to Unite by Eddie Stobart, following talks through the conciliation service Acas, has been rejected by the Doncaster drivers.

“While the consultation continues, we will continue to offer alternative roles within Tesco to the affected drivers, alongside those roles on offer at Eddie Stobart. We have been in contact with a number of local stakeholders throughout this process.”

‘Local stakeholders’ are thought to include Labour leader Ed Miliband. Unite says he has involved himself in the dispute due to his role as Doncaster North MP.

The spokeswoman would only say that as a major employer in the area it has contact with local MPs on a regular basis on a number of issues.

In response to Unite’s accusation of being hard-hearted, David Pickering, Eddie Stobart MD, said: “We’ve worked hard over the past 10 weeks with Unite to come up with the best possible financial package for the drivers.

“Our proposal was a 50% increase in their statutory redundancy pay that would have seen them benefit from significant financial support so it’s disappointing to see them lose out. Had Unite concentrated on negotiations, rather than industrial action, then the drivers would be much better off financially.”