Milk supplies to North of England supermarkets of Tesco, Aldi, Morrison and ASDA face disruption unless a 3 day strike by 100 drivers, who recently transferred from Leeds based Arla Foods to haulage company Moran Logistics, is averted. These members voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over union rights and cuts to pay and conditions. Notice has been given that the strike action will commence at one minute past midnight on Wednesday 1st April until one minute to midnight on Friday 3rd April, i.e.72 hours.
The members deliver milk to supermarkets from Nottingham to the North East on the east of the Pennines and in Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire west of the Pennines. The transfer itself was motivated by Arla wishing to make significant cost savings across their supply chain. Arla awarded the outbound delivery work to Moran who they say can provide the service at a cheaper rate. Both unions have continuously requested financial information that supports this move which has been refused to date. The 100 drivers had worked approximately 1,000 years of loyal service for Arla.
Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Officer, said “Whilst there has been considerable progress to resolve a number of the outstanding issues with the new employer Moran Logistics Arla, the previous employer, are viewed as the key obstacle to remedying problems that occurred under their employment regarding a shortfall in holiday pay and pension benefits. The joint trade unions met with Moran Logistics last week and our talks were productive. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement soon and that as a consequence, we can work constructively with the new company under new bargaining arrangements.
The fly in the ointment however is Arla. Our members feel like they have been short changed by their former employer over past underpayments in holiday pay and by the company not committing to past agreements that should have transferred to Moran.
They are prepared to take strike action against their new employer in order to defend these rights. We had a return of 85% in favour of taking strike action which illustrates the strength of feeling amongst our members . Arla could sort easily sort this out and in doing so they could spare us all the severe disruption to milk supplies and anticipated shortages in supermarkets across the north of England that awaits us at Easter. The ball is very much in Arla’s court, and Unite and the GMB are ready for constructive talks at any time.”