Around 1,500 Londis and Budgens convenience stores across London and the South-East are likely to be hit by possible disruption after delivery drivers from Booker Retail Partners, a subsidiary of Tesco, voted to strike.
The strike action has been threatened by 40 drivers from the Booker’s Thamesmead site, which delivers to London and the South East, due to those drivers not being offered a temporary £5 an hour pay rise that workers at another site have been offered.
The temporary uplift was offered to the drivers at the Hemel Hempstead depot as a result of the ongoing driver shortage crisis, which is hitting retailers and wholesalers across the UK. However drivers based in Thamesmead claim it is not fair that they have not be offered similar uplift.
Although the workers voted unanamously to strike, the union has not yet issued a notice for strike action, in order for crunch talks with he bosses to take place laster this month (21-23 September).
“If those talks don’t result in a fair settlement, there will be strikes as our members are up for a long, drawn out fight for pay justice,” Unite regional officer Paul Travers said.
He added that the dispute had been “pockmarked by very poor employment relations by the management” claiming that senior executives were ‘missing in action’ at critical times and had tried to bypass negotiating procedures by attempting to offer union members a deal that would have “ultimately left them worse off”.
“Any industrial action will deepen the supply shortages that many parts of the retail sector are currently experiencing due to the wider issue of driver shortages,” Travers added.