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Tesco stores across Scotland set for Christmas shortages after union members vote for strike action

Industrial reporter @TrinderMatt

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco faces significant disruption in the run-up to Christmas after workers across Britain and the north of Ireland back strike action over below-inflation pay offers.

Warehouse staff and HGV drivers based at the company’s Livingston distribution depot, which supplies stock to stores across Scotland, will walk out on December 20 and not return before Christmas.

Unite members at Tesco depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster are also set to walk out in the coming weeks. 

The union stressed today that workers were particularly angry over the firm’s 4 per cent offer – which, being well below the RPI inflation rate of 6 per cent, means a pay cut in real terms – despite expecting an operating profit of £2.6 billion from the current financial year.

On Monday, retail union Usdaw confirmed that its members at nine Tesco distribution centres had overwhelmingly voted to strike over the same “derisory” pay offers.

The two ballots, in which strike action was backed by 73 per cent and 84 per cent respectively, cover the Daventry, Goole, Hinckley, Lichfield, Peterborough and Southampton sites in England, Livingston in Scotland and two centres at Magor in south Wales.

Workers will withdraw their labour between December 20 and Christmas Eve, Usdaw said.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham accused Tesco of mistreating staff “who have gone above and beyond the call of duty” during the Covid-19 pandemic, while Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuiness insisted that workers “deserve a decent pay rise.”

She urged bosses to “engage positively” and reopen negotiations. 

A company spokesperson claimed that the pay offer was a “fair recognition” of Tesco employees’ hard work, adding that managements had contingency plans in place to help avoid disruption during industrial action. 

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