Unite members hold demonstrations two years after losing their jobs

Eddie StobartFormer drivers, who used to work on the Tesco distribution contract in Doncaster, will be continuing their fight against their ‘unfair dismissal’ by Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) with demonstrations outside Tesco stores and Stobart depots across Yorkshire today.

The drivers, who were dismissed nearly two years ago, maintain that ESL and Tesco had together agreed to make 184 drivers redundant well before the workers had been consulted.

The employment tribunal hearing the case is set to reconvene on 12 January 2015 when senior Tesco managers will be questioned over the process of transferring the drivers from Tesco to ESL in August 2012.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Our members are still determined to see justice done. Tesco and Eddie Stobart have colluded to avoid their legal responsibilities resulting in 184 drivers losing their livelihoods.

“Many of the drivers have still not found permanent work.  We will be demonstrating to show that our members will not lie down and let Tesco and Eddie Stobart Ltd get away with destroying people’s lives.

“We want justice to be done and to ensure that other workers aren’t exploited by what we view as a clear avoidance of Tesco and Eddie Stobart’s moral and social responsibilities under Tupe.”

The origins of the dispute go back to August 2012 when the transport workforce was transferred from Tesco to ESL and then in September of that year, ESL issued notice of termination of employment, with no promise that the drivers would be re-employed once the 90-days were up.

This sparked a four month dispute. Eventually the drivers voted to accept a package from ESL which meant that they finished work in January 2013.

A number of the former Tesco drivers are still working in the industry either as self-employed drivers or for agencies – however, a good proportion remain unemployed.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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