Tesco has seen off the threat of a pre-Christmas strike by workers at nine distribution centres as it agreed to a new pay deal with trade union Usdaw.
It comes after Britain’s biggest supermarket chain last week separately reached agreement with Unite, another union, averting industrial action at four further warehouses – again after an improved pay offer.
The planned strikes had threatened to result in empty shelves in the busy festive period at a time when retailers are already battling an array of supply chain problems to ensure their stores are well stocked, though Tesco had maintained it had contingency plans in place.
Its higher pay offers to settle the disputes come as Bank of England officials look for signs of whether wage pressures are driving up inflation as they decide whether to hike interest rates in a bid to curb price rises.
Usdaw’s planned strike had related to distribution centres in Daventry, Goole, Hinckley, Lichfield, Livingston, Magor (two sites), Peterborough and Southampton.
The trade union said it had “secured a new and much improved pay offer” and would ballot more than 5,000 members employed as drivers and warehouse workers on the deal.
“Planned industrial action in the week before Christmas Eve has been suspended pending the ballot result,” it said.
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Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness said: “After the overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action, Tesco reopened pay negotiations with Usdaw.
“I am pleased to say that we have been successful in achieving a significantly improved offer and Usdaw is recommending that members accept it in the ballot.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re pleased to have agreed a pay deal with Usdaw that it recommends to its members.
“Colleagues at these centres will no longer be taking industrial action. We look forward to delivering a fantastic Christmas for customers.”