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Booker has been offered a final chance to avert delivery disruption to 1,500 stores, as drivers at its Thamesmead depot voted unanimously for strike action.

Forty drivers at the site voted for the action after the wholesaler declined to implement the same temporary £5 pay rise given to drivers at its Hemel Hempstead site. Unite, the union representing the drivers, has offered Booker a chance to avert the action through talks on 21-23 September.

The union warned any strike action from the Thamesmead site, which serves 1,500 stores across London and the south east, would “deepen the supply shortage crisis hitting many parts of the UK economy because of the lack of HGV drivers.”

Union threatens to bring supply to Booker retailers ‘to a grinding halt’

Unite regional officer Paul Travers said: “This is really ‘smell the coffee’ time for the bosses at Booker Retail Partners. Our members at Thamesmead could not have sent out a clearer message – 100 per cent voting in favour of strike action.

“If those talks don’t result in a fair settlement, there will be strikes as our members are up for a long, drawn out fight for pay justice.

“This dispute has been pockmarked by very poor employment relations by the management with senior executives ‘missing in action’ at critical times and then trying to bypass negotiating procedures by attempting to offer our members a deal that would have ultimately left them worse off.”

A Booker Spokesperson said: “We are naturally disappointed with last week’s ballot result from our Thamesmead drivers but look forward to sitting down with their Unite representatives on 21 September and working together to find a resolution.”

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