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The Unite union has accused Tesco of getting Stobart Group “to do its dirty work” for it, after the 183 drivers based at the operator’s Doncaster DC were told they faced possible redundancy.

Eddie Stobart revealed its plans to staff at the DC yesterday (5 September), confirming Unite’s worst fears following the transfer of the business and staff from Tesco to Stobart on 5 August.

David Pickering, Eddie Stobart MD, said: “After a thorough assessment and review of the transport operations at Tesco’s Doncaster DC, Eddie Stobart proposes that all collections and deliveries at the site will be organised using its network resources.

“This reorganisation of operations is necessary to achieve a cost-effective, efficient and sustainable solution while still delivering an excellent standard of service. As a consequence, all 183 LGV driver positions have been identified as being at risk of redundancy.”

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “Their intention is to run the transport operation with their own cheaper drivers. For us this represents Tesco washing its hands of 183 men and their families and getting Stobart to do its dirty work for it.

“Throughout the TUPE transfer progress, our drivers proposed many options for saving Tesco money in their transport operation. These proposals were all rejected by Tesco, which said that Stobart could do it a lot more cheaply for them. The only way Stobart can achieve this is by getting rid of 183 drivers.”

Stobart Group has now entered into a 90 day consultation period with staff. It said it would do all it could to find those affected alternative employment within the business.