Sainsbury’s could face ‘severe disruption to deliveries’ as lorry drivers vote on strike action

Hundreds of Sainsbury’s lorry drivers are being balloted for strike action over claims the supermarket giant is attempting to outsource their jobs.

According to Unite the Union, “around 500” drivers based in Essex and Birmingham are considering industrial action as Sainsbury’s looks to transfer them to Wincanton at the end of April.

The union claims the transfer would result in the workers no longer being eligible for benefits they receive as Sainsbury’s employees, such as a 15% discount card worth up to £1.6k a year in savings, as well as share save and incentive schemes.

The ballot for strike action opens on 26 February and is set to close on 11 March.

Unite has warned that if the strike action does go ahead, it will “cause severe disruption to deliveries” from distribution centres in Coleshill, Birmingham and Waltham Abbey, Essex to the grocer’s stores.

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Last April, the retailer unveiled a £220m investment in making “big, bold” changes across its supply chain, moving to three dedicated partnerships across transport, food, and general merchandise and clothing by the end of 2024, instead of multiple different contracts across the network.

The retailer is moving transport services for most of its operations, including Sainsbury’s, Argos and its central transport functions to Wincanton.

The supply chain partner will remain responsible for the Sainsbury’s convenience store operations, servicing stores across London and the south-east of England.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “There is still time to resolve this dispute before it escalates. But for that to happen, Sainsbury’s must get back around the negotiating table and put forward a deal our members can accept.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We are committed to further talks. In the meantime we can reassure our customers we have contingency plans in place to minimise any disruption, should the action go ahead.”



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