West Lothian staff accuse Tesco bosses of ‘blackmail tactics’ over strike action

Bosses have been accused of blackmailing union members to vote against strike action after employees received a letter that some perceived as threatening.

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Workers at Tesco Livington who are members of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers Union (Usdaw) are set to vote on industrial action by the end of this month, after a pay offer from Tesco was rejected by union members.

Depending on the outcome of the ballot, employees could be on strike as early as December 20, which has raised worries about how the shop will cope over the festive period.

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Union members working at Tesco’s Livingston warehouse received a letter from the company's UK distribution and fulfillment director Andrew Woolfenden, last week.

The letter encourages union members to vote against industrial action and sets out what will happen to employees who strike.

In the letter dated Wednesday, November 17, Mr Woolfenden writes: “If you decide to take part in strike action you will be in breach of your contract of employment.

“This means that you will not be paid for the entire shift(s) in which strike action is taken, even if you work for part of that shift. You may not be paid your colleague bonus for 2021. The average payment under that scheme last year was £801. You may lose your warehouse market supplement (up to £500) or driver market supplement (up to £800).

Tesco Livingston workers prepare to strike this ChristmasTesco Livingston workers prepare to strike this Christmas
Tesco Livingston workers prepare to strike this Christmas
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“In addition, if strike action continues for 12 weeks, we may decide to terminate your employment.

“You will lose more than you will gain by taking industrial action. Therefore if you are a union member and receive a ballot paper, I would urge you to use your vote and vote ‘No’ to taking strike action.”

The director went on to say that if the overall result of the ballot rejects industrial action Tesco will honor the 4 per cent pay reward.

One member of staff at the Livingston depot who prefers to remain nameless said he felt threatened by this letter.

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The night shift worker and union member said: “A lot of people feel threatened by this, it’s blackmail tactics.”

Tesco has been contacted for comment.

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