Supermarket giant Tesco is set to be hit with a series of Christmas strikes over a dispute in pay with warehouse workers and drivers.
The strike will affect depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster, Unite union has announced which will see more than 1,000 workers take industrial action.
Tesco had offered a 4% pay rise and Unite said this is “well below” the current retail price index (RPI) inflation rate of 6%, as the current CPI is 4.2%.
The supermarket giant said the pay rise offer was one of the highest awards made within the depots in 25-years.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Our members have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep Tesco’s shelves filled throughout the pandemic.
“At the very least the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer should be making our members a decent pay offer.
“Unite always prioritises the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and it will be giving its full and total support to our members at Tesco until this dispute is resolved.”
Staff at the Didcot and Doncaster sites will strike for 48 hours from 6am on 16 December 16, then there will be a further five-day stoppage from 20 December, with more industrial action at these sites after Christmas.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said, “Unite is taking strike action as a last resort having exhausted all other options.
“Even at this late stage Tesco could still avoid severe disruption in its stores by returning to the negotiating table and making a greatly improved offer.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “Our distribution colleagues have worked tirelessly through the pandemic in order to keep products moving for customers.
“The pay offer we have made is a fair recognition of this, and is one of the highest awards made within our distribution business in the last 25 years, building on our highly competitive pay and rewards package.
“We welcome the decision by our colleagues at the sites who have voted against industrial action.
“We are disappointed that some have voted to proceed, and we have contingency plans in place to help mitigate any impacts.
“We have worked hard to deliver Christmas for our customers and are confident we will be able to fulfil our plans.”