GMB Strike Ballot At Milk Supplier Over Union Rights and Cuts To Terms & Conditions

11 Mar 2015

GMB STRIKE BALLOT BETWEEN 16TH AND 23 MARCH AT NORTH OF ENGLAND MILK SUPPLIER OVER UNION RIGHTS AND CUTS IN JOBS AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS

In a consultative ballot last week 98% of drivers voted to take strike action to defend their jobs and trade union rights says GMB.  The threat to disruption of milk supplies to North of England supermarkets – Tesco, Aldi, Morrison and ASDA – has moved a step closer as GMB and Unite served notice on Monday 9th March for an official ballot for industrial action for 100 members now employed as drivers by Moran Logistics in a dispute over union rights and cuts to pay and conditions. The official strike ballot commences on 16th March and closes on 23rd March. See notes to editors for GMB press release dated 2nd March on the dispute.

These members based in Leeds were transferred from Arla Foods to Moran Logistics Ltd on Sunday 8th March. There is no agreement to protect pay and conditions of the drivers transferred to the new employer. Union members voted almost unanimously in a consultative ballot to take strike action in this dispute.

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.

Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Officer, said “Despite a number of meetings with both companies the unions have not been given any real reassurances that terms and conditions and jobs will be secure going forward.

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. But how? We have asked where the savings will be made but have had no concrete tangible response.

Our members fear that the cost savings will be made at the expense of their pay and jobs. All both companies have needed to do was to share this information with us and in doing so, reassure our members that they have nothing to fear. But they haven’t and they won’t. Leading us back to the question why?

The other key issue is that from the offset Moran have emphasised that the joint trade union recognition agreement will not transfer. This position has been viewed as incredibly hostile by our membership. They and the unions see this as a means to silence the workforce. 99% of drivers are members of GMB and Unite and are angry that Moran has made it very clear that they would not accept the existing collective bargaining agreement and that therefore it would not carry over post transfer. 

Our members are adamant that they will defend their terms and conditions of employment, their jobs and their right to continue to be organised and represented by a trade union. In a consultative ballot that concluded on Friday 6th March 98% of those drivers who took part said that they were prepared to take strike action to defend their jobs and trade union rights.”