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Booker strike threatens 1,500 convenience stores at Christmas

Christmas Eve deliveries to 1,500 convenience stores across the south east could be disrupted after Booker drivers reopened strike action in a dispute over pay, Unite… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Booker strike threatens 1,500 convenience stores at Christmas

Christmas Eve deliveries to 1,500 convenience stores across the south east could be disrupted after Booker drivers reopened strike action in a dispute over pay, Unite has said.

The two-day strikes would take place on 23 December and 24 December and would affect stores including Budgens, Londis and Premier across London and the south east.

The union claims Booker has backtracked on a review of drivers’ pay in February next year that was agreed as part of a pay deal in October.

Unite said the 45 drivers at Booker’s Thamesmead site accepted the 3.3% pay increase in October on condition of the further review. Now this had been breached, workers could relaunch strike action without the need for another ballot, according to Shaun Noble, Unite’s senior communications officer.

A Booker spokesperson said it is engaging with Unite and is happy to meet them in February, adding ”we have contingency plans in place to ensure customers can get the products they need, while minimising any disruption for them.”

“When we agreed to suspend strike action in October, it was on the understanding that a review of drivers’ pay and employment conditions would take place in February and that Unite would be fully involved,” said Paul Travers, Unite regional officer.

“Our members are angry that the money being proposed falls well short of what they deserve, now that the current RPI rate of inflation rate is 6%.”

The dispute has been reverberating since July when drivers at Thamesmead asked for the same temporary £5 an hour uplift in salary that Booker had issued to drivers at its Hemel Hempstead depot, in response to the HGV driver shortage.

It comes as strikes across the distribution and logistics sectors have resulted in significantly improved pay deals for workers.

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