Livingston Tesco strike: Tesco negotiates with union as West Lothian workers prepare to strike

Tesco has agreed to reopen talks with a union after members working at the supermarket chain's Livingston distribution centre voted to strike in disputes over pay.

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On Monday, union Usdaw announced that staff working at the Livingston distribution centre had backed strike action over the festive season, which would see them walk out on December 20 and not return until after Christmas.

The union said strike action was voted for because of Tesco’s offer of a four per cent pay rise, which Unite described as “derisory” and “well below” the current retail price index (RPI) inflation rate of six per cent.

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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The current consumer prices index (CPI) is 4.2 per cent.Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said: “Tesco is a multibillion-pounds profitable company built on the back of our members.“We are talking about the UK’s largest and wealthiest retailer, and the best they offer their workers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the pandemic is a real-terms pay cut.”Following the vote for industrial action at Tesco Livingston, which is Europe’s biggest depot supplying stores across Scotland, Tesco has agreed to continue talks, which the union has welcomed.Joanne McGuinness, Usdaw national officer, said: “We welcome Tesco’s offer of further talks, which start tomorrow, and we will engage positively to seek a resolution to this dispute.“Industrial action is always a last resort for our members. We sincerely hope that fresh negotiations can result in an acceptable offer from the business to avoid possible stock shortages in stores in the week before Christmas.”

The talks begin as Unite union workers based in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster are being recommended to accept a proposed deal which offers workers a minimum of a 5.5 per cent increase backdated to July and an additional 0.5 per cent from February 2022.

Ms Graham said: "Tesco's improved offer shows what can be achieved by our members standing together.

"Given that the company has forecast profits for 2021 topping £2.5 billion, an improved offer is the least Tesco workers could expect."

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Unite said if the deal is rejected then fresh strike action will be announced but that is unlikely to be before January 2022.

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