Tesco could struggle to make Christmas deliveries if a strike across nine of its warehouses goes ahead.
The orders are scheduled to be dropped off from December 20, but trade union Usdaw has threatened a walkout on the same day, unless the supermarket hands workers a “decent pay rise”.
It comes amid warnings that the supply chain could collapse under the weight of festive demand.
Usdaw members have already rejected one pay offer from Tesco – reportedly “one of its highest awards” in 25 years – and are being balloted on the strike from today.
“Retail distribution workers are key workers who delivered essential services throughout the pandemic,” national officer Joanne McGuinness said.
“These workers deserve a decent pay rise as their reward for what they have done and continue to do day in day out.
“The potential of industrial action and possible stock shortages in stores in the week before Christmas can be avoided, if the company comes back to the table with a better offer.”
Workers could go on strike across warehouses in Daventry, Goole, Hinckley, Lichfield, Livingston, Peterborough and Southampton, plus two sites in Magor.
“We are disappointed that a decision has been taken to ballot for potential industrial action at a number of our distribution sites,” a Tesco spokesperson said.
“We have put forward a fair and competitive pay offer to our colleagues, which is one of the highest awards made within our distribution business in the last 25 years.”
It comes after Unite balloted 140 Sainsbury’s drivers employed by DHL over strikes in December.
The union warned of “considerable disruption” to Christmas shopping if the company did not up its “miserly” three per cent pay rise.