180 drivers' jobs threatened following Tesco reshuffle

By Freddie Pierce
Union leaders have accused superstore chain Tesco of ‘burying its head in the sand, after 183 distribution jobs have come under threat at its Don...

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.

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