Fears for drivers’ jobs as store transfers depot

UNION officials yesterday said they feared hundreds of lorry drivers were at risk of redundancy after Tesco signed a deal to transfer its Doncaster depot to a haulage contractor.

More than 200 drivers are based at the Tesco distribution centre in Middle Bank, and Unite, which represents many of the staff, said it was concerned about the fate of the transport workforce when they are transferred from Tesco to haulage giant, Eddie Stobart Ltd (ESL) this weekend.

The union said ESL had “refused to declare its hand” as to the future of the Doncaster distribution centre’s transport operation until at least four weeks after the transfer.

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According to officials, one of the options being considered is to ‘remove all resource/assets’ and use the existing ESL network to provide all the transport requirements for Doncaster.

Unite regional officer, Harriet Eisner said: “One of the options could see the Doncaster transport operation being closed completely – and more than 200 employees being made redundant in a town that has already suffered because of the economic situation.

“We have been in consultation with Tesco and ESL, but Stobart has not yet indicated what will happen after the transfer.

“We have challenged them repeatedly to tell us what they intend for the drivers and each time they have refused to tell our members, saying that they will carry on as normal for four weeks and will then assess the situation.

“Our driver members naturally fear the worst. ESL is either unable or unwilling to tell them what will happen.

“Our members are asked to believe that they can take on a multi-million pound business without having a plan for the future – this is stretching the bounds of credulity.

“We need answers and we need them now.”

A spokesman for Tesco said a “consultation” was ongoing with staff.