A sense of betrayal at plans by supermarket giant Morrisons to outsource nearly 400 drivers and mechanics has triggered a consultative ballot on whether to take strike action to fight this move, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (June 19).
Unite has sent ballot papers to its members at three Morrison sites – Gadbrook (Cheshire), Stockton-on-Tees (County Durham) and Wakefield in West Yorkshire – asking them whether they wish to proceed to a full scale industrial ballot. The ballot closes on Monday (June 24).
The core of the dispute is Morrisons’ plan to transfer the transport operation at the three distribution sites to Wincanton and the vehicle maintenance teams at the same sites to Pullmans, a Wincanton subsidiary, from August this year.
“There is a deep sense of betrayal and upsurge of anger by our nearly 400 drivers and mechanics that this transfer is being imposed on them by Morrisons’ bosses without any consultation,” Unite national officer for road transport and logistics Adrian Jones said.
“Morrisons may think this is ‘a done deal’, but our members are currently holding a consultative ballot, which closes on Monday, on whether they wish to proceed to a full-scale industrial ballot, with the option for strike action.
“Our members have been working directly for Morrisons for many years, some of them for up to 30 years, and feel let down that this decision has been made without the involvement of their trade union.
“In the past, Morrisons has prided itself on controlling its supply chain. In future, products may be ‘made’ by Morrisons, but in the north of England they won’t be delivered by Morrisons,” Jones added.
He continued, “If the company, ultimately, refuses to stop the planned transfer of Unite members to Wincanton and its subsidiary Pullmans, there is a very real prospect of strike action later in the summer that could cause havoc for deliveries to Morrisons’ supermarkets and stores across the north.
“However,” he concluded, “Unite’s door is always open for constructive talks with Morrisons to resolve this dispute.”