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Milk Delivery Drivers Strike

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

GMB Members 3 Day Strike At North Of England Milk Supplier Over Union Rights And Cuts In Jobs And Terms And Conditions

The ball is very much now in Arla’s court and unions are ready for constructive talks at any time says GMB.

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. The official strike ballot closed on 23rd March. See notes to editors for GMB press releases dated 10th and 2nd March on the dispute.

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. 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'.

Matt Draper, Unite National Officer for Road Transport, said “This dispute is quite complex. So even though the outstanding issues are with Arla Foods, because the new employer is Moran Logistics the strike action is directed towards this company. Arla foods is short changing and not honouring commitments to our members.

The ball is very much in Arla’s court, and Unite and the GMB are ready for constructive talks at any time.”

End

Contact: GMB Rachel Dix 07958 156839 or 0845 337 7777 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or Unite Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press releases:

Copy of GMB press release dated 10th March 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.”

End

Copy of GMB press release dated 2nd March 2015

MILK SUPPLIES IN NORTH OF ENGLAND TO BE HIT OVER EASTER IN GMB DISPUTE OVER UNION RIGHTS AND CUTS IN JOBS AND TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Members are incredibly upset and angry as they feel that Arla is relinquishing all responsibility for a long-serving, loyal workforce says GMB
 
Milk supplies to supermarkets – Tesco, Aldi, Morrison and ASDA in the north of England - could be disrupted over the Easter holiday unless GMB members currently employed as drivers by Arla Foods have their pay and conditions protected when they are transferred to a new employer.

Arla Foods, based in Leeds, have decided to transfer drivers (under TUPE regulation - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)) to Moran Logistics, also based in Leeds. The transfer of the drivers occurs on Sunday (8 March).

GMB and Unite plane to service notice on Moran’s Logistics on Monday (9 March) for a ballot for strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike if the assurances sought are not forthcoming. Given all the notice periods the aim is to conclude the balloting process by the third week in March.  

Rachel Dix, GMB Regional Officer, said: “Our members are incredibly upset and angry. They feel that Arla is relinquishing all responsibility for a long-serving, loyal workforce.
 
This is compounded by the company's refusal to share key information on how cost savings can be generated by this transfer. In the absence of this detail, we can only conclude that both pay and jobs will be put at risk. This has to be challenged.

GMB is of the view that that Danish-owned Arla and Morans Logistics are in cahoots to attack the pay, and terms and conditions of our members. 

We cannot accept that Moran Logistics will not recognise the two unions for collective bargaining purposes on behalf of the drivers.”  
 
Matt Draper, Unite national officer for road transport, said: “Unless Morans Logistics gets around the table for meaningful negotiations about recognising the unions and guaranteeing our members’ terms and conditions, the drivers could be striking over the forthcoming Easter holiday.

The drivers, with over 1000 years of loyal service, are being dumped by Arla - the company has repeatedly refused to share with the two unions the financial information to support this decision.
 
The continued refusal to supply this data endorses the joint unions belief that pay and conditions will be attacked once the transfer has been completed. Morans refusal to recognise the unions strengthens this view further.
 
Both Arla and Morans have treated these loyal workers with utter contempt, refusing to supply the necessary supporting evidence. Arla has evaded its moral obligation. Both companies are complicit in attacking our members terms and conditions.”
 
ENDS

 

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