'Act of bad faith'

Christmas Eve deliveries to 1,500 convenience stores in London and the south east to be disrupted

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The dispute involving drivers employed by the Tesco-owned Booker Retail Partners at its Thamesmead site has flared up again with a two-day strike, including Christmas Eve, which will hit deliveries to 1,500 convenience stores in London and the south east.

Unite the union accused the bosses of ‘bad faith’ for reneging on an agreement that the drivers’ pay would be reviewed in February 2022, after they voted to accept a 3.3 per cent pay increase in October (which is now in pay packets).

The 45-strong workforce will strike from 00:01 on Thursday, December 23 2021 until midnight on Christmas Eve (December 24) which will hit deliveries to stores including Budgens, Londis, Premier, One Stop and many petrol stations.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is an act of bad faith by the Booker bosses. They promised a further review of pay rates to take place in February. They have now broken that agreement and thus have provoked the Christmas strike action.

“Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of all its HGV driver members across the UK. That now includes holding the Booker bosses in Thamesmead to account for breaking a union agreement on pay.”

Unite regional officer Paul Travers added, “When we agreed to suspend strike action in October, it was on the understanding that a review of drivers’ pay and employment conditions would take place in February and that Unite would be fully involved. However, the company has now scrapped the review and will uplift the drivers’ money by £2 per hour which is completely unacceptable.

“This is a unilateral decision and, as a result, our members are angry that the money being proposed falls well short of what they deserve, now that the current RPI rate of inflation rate is six per cent.”

By Shaun Noble

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