Sainsbury’s customers across the South West could face pre-Christmas shortages, if lorry drivers employed by DHL take strike action in a dispute over pay.
According to Unite the Union, 140 drivers employed by DHL are threatening to take industrial action over the “miserly” three per cent rise against the current 4.9 per cent rate of inflation.
The ballot is scheduled to open on November 11 and to close on November 25, and will see the strikes start from the second week of December if successful.
The resulting labour shortage is estimated to cause “considerable disruption” to the delivery of Christmas supplies.
The news follows recent strike ballots held by the union over Tesco lorry drivers’ pay and the recent pay increase won by Sainsbury’s lorry drivers in Dartford.
“Lorry drivers are key workers who are vital to our economy, they will not accept poverty pay or real term pay cuts any longer,” Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said.
“The union will be providing its full support to our members in this dispute for a fair day’s pay.”
Unite regional officer Shevaun Hunt added: “Our members are balloting for strike action as … DHL has failed to make a reasonable pay offer.
“DHL can still avoid strike action by returning to the negotiating table and making an offer which meets workers’ expectations.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told Grocery Gazette: “We continue to encourage both sides to keep talking.”