Northern England facing 'crispstrophe'

Delivery drivers on Walkers contract prepare for strike action over pay

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Consumers across northern England should brace themselves for a ‘crispstrophe’ as the drivers responsible for delivering Walkers crisps to supermarkets across the UK prepare to take strike action.

The workers are employed by Eddie Stobart Ltd at its Warrington depot on the Walkers Pepsico contract.

The workers returned a 96.7 per cent vote in favour of strike action before Christmas, as a result of Eddie Stobart trying to enforce a pay freeze on the drivers and refusing to enter into pay negotiations with Unite despite it being the recognised union.

An overtime ban was instigated for a three week period which began on December 26.

However as Eddie Stobart has still declined to enter into pay talks a further overtime ban will commence from just after midnight on Saturday, January 23 until midnight on Saturday, February 16, followed by four days of strike action from Sunday, February 17 until Wednesday, February 20.

Unite has also announced a further overtime ban from Saturday, February 20 until Saturday, February 27 and then a further three days of strike action from Sunday, February 28 until Tuesday, March 2.

Given the just in time nature of supermarket deliveries, Walkers products will swiftly disappear from shelves once strike action begins.

Unite regional officer Steve Gerrard said, “Consumers across northern England should be bracing themselves for a crispstrophe, if Eddie Stobart bosses fail to come to their senses and enter into pay talks.

“The Walkers contract is highly lucrative yet Eddie Stobart is refusing to even enter into pay negotiations.

“The affected drivers have worked throughout the pandemic and the only thanks they are set to receive is a real terms pay cut,” he added.

“Management at Eddie Stobart is guilty of using the Covid-19 pandemic for forcing through a pay cut on its workers.

“A Walkers crisp famine can still be averted, but Eddie Stobart needs to table a meaningful pay offer and enter into negotiations on all other outstanding issues relating to this trade dispute, to try and reach an amicable resolution.”

By Barckley Sumner

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