1,500 shops face Christmas chaos with Tesco Booker strike

Around 1,500 convenience stores across London and the South East could struggle to keep shelves stocked as Tesco Booker was engulfed in a “bad faith” row.

Trade union Unite said the wholesaler’s bosses had reneged on a deal to review the pay of drivers at its Thamesmead depot next year.

Instead, it “unilaterally” decided to boost pay by £2 an hour, which comes just weeks after a 3.3% pay rise agreed in October.

Unite believes this is “unacceptable” given the retail price inflation rate of 6%.

READ MORE: Tesco denies ‘defensive’ move against private equity

Forty-five hauliers will go on strike on 23 and 24 December, halting deliveries to Londis, Budgens, Premier, One Stop and a number of petrol stations.

General secretary Sharon Graham said Booker bosses had “broken” an agreement and acted in “bad faith”.

Regional officer Paul Travers said: “Our members are angry that the money being proposed falls well short of what they deserve.”

The nationwide shortage of hauliers means that unions have recently been able to drive a hard bargain with retailers.

Last month, Sainsbury’s drivers won a 14% pay boost, while Morrisons drivers were handed a wage increase of up to 24.4%.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We continue to engage with Unite in relation to our Thamesmead site and remain happy to meet with them in February.

“We have contingency plans in place to ensure customers can get the products they need, while minimising any disruption for them.”

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