180 drivers' jobs threatened following Tesco reshuffle
Union leaders have accused superstore chain Tesco of ‘burying its head in the sand’, after 183 distribution jobs have come under threat at its Doncaster distribution centre.
In a move to cut costs, Tesco recently transferred the centre’s operations to Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL), which took over the distribution centre in August. A month after the transfer, ESL issued 183 Tesco drivers with 90 days notice of termination of employment, and cannot guarantee the drivers will be re-employed.
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The distribution company claims that the decision was only made after a “thorough review” by ESL, who has decided to carry out all collections and deliveries using its existing resources.
This decision was criticised by Unite the Union, which said it’s members were “very angry” at the proposals.
ESL will now carry out a 90-day consultation period which will involve the lorry drivers previously employed at the distribution centre.
Speaking to the BBC, David Pickering, Eddie Stobart's managing director, said the company was reorganising its operations "to achieve a cost-effective, efficient and sustainable solution while still delivering an excellent standard of service”.
He said the firm would do "everything it can" to help affected employees at the Doncaster distribution centre to find alternative posts within the Stobart group.
Drivers who previously worked for Tesco have already accepted a pay cut, and have allegedly lost access to Tesco shares and pension.
In an online statement, the Unite national officer for retail distribution Matt Draper said: “Unfortunately, we thought this is the action that ESL would take. The scale of the job losses will be grim news for Doncaster – a town already badly hit by the government-induced recession.
Unite went on to criticise grocery giant Tesco’s, claiming that the company ‘would have been aware that this might happen.
“Tesco makes great play of being a good corporate citizen – today that has been shown to be a shallow pretence,” said Draper.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany