Lorry drivers protest in Bridlington against job cuts

Tesco lorry drivers protest outside the Driffield store.
Tesco lorry drivers protest outside the Driffield store.

A PROTEST has been staged against plans to slash a large number of jobs currently held by lorry drivers who deliver produce to Tesco stores in the East Riding.

The drivers, who are part of the union Unite, demonstrated with placards outside Bridlington’s Tesco store last week as part of a 48-hour protest held across the region.

The jobs in jeopardy are with haulage company Eddie Stobart Ltd and 200 drivers from the Doncaster depot, which serves Tesco stores across Yorkshire, are set to lose out and be replaced by lower-paid drivers within 90 days. Drivers currently earn £9 an hour.

Around 120 alternative employment opportunities are potentially to be created by Eddie Stobart who are in discussion with the drivers.

Tesco transferred their drivers to Eddie Stobart in August, resulting in a loss of their pension schemes and other benefits enjoyed whilst employed by Tesco.

One month after the transfer drivers were told Eddie Stobart would terminate their contracts.

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “The drivers are furious at the way they have been treated by this management which seems hell-bent on throwing them onto the dole queue by Christmas.

“The strike action will severely disrupt supplies to Tesco stores across the region, but Tesco has only itself to blame since it washed its hands of the drivers when it transferred them to Eddie Stobart in August. More strikes are on the cards until this dispute is resolved.”

The protest lasted from Tuesday 9 October to Thursday 11 October in East Yorkshire, and also visited stores in Driffield, Filey, and Scarborough.

Further strike action is planned for today, Thursday October 18 and tomorrow, Friday October 19.

David Pickering, managing director of Eddie Stobart, said: “It’s very disappointing that Unite have forced the Doncaster drivers into proposed strike action as since the original ballot was held, we have committed over 120 alternative driving roles within Stobart Group just one month into meaningful consultation and dialogue.

“If the strike does go ahead, we will ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum.”

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “We continue to hope that the drivers and Eddie Stobart Ltd will reach an agreement, and we will keep working with Eddie Stobart Ltd to try to provide alternative roles for all the drivers.”

In 2011 Tesco profited £3.8bn and paid their highest paid director £1.6m. More talks were scheduled for Tuesday October 16 between Eddie Stobart Ltd and Unite.