Supplies to 31 One Stop stores and 80% of Tesco Express stores in and around London are to be hit by a strike at Tesco’s distribution centre in Dagenham, east London, on 17 May.
The centre supplies One Stop stores with fresh and frozen produce, according to an industry source. Many of the One Stop stores in the affected areas are company operated.
This could lead to empty shelves and reduced sales across a critical retail weekend which includes both the FA Cup final and the royal wedding on the 19 May. While a headache for Tesco-supplied stores, poor availability in Tesco Express stores would be an opportunity for independents located close by according to retailers.
Asked how the USDAW organised strike would affect Tesco supplied convenience stores in the area, Dave McCrossen, USDAW’s divisional officer told Retail Express: “I’d imagine they’ll switch the supplies to another depot, but there’s only so much they can do this. The convenience stores typically can’t hold enough to stock up beforehand and many locations require deliveries by smaller vehicles.”
Gaurave Sood from Neelam Newsagents in London said the strike would provide opportunities for independent retailers located next to Tesco Express stores. “It’s the sort of thing independent retailers located next to a multiple pray for. Any stock shortages there are a blessing for shopkeepers and you have to be prepared and well-stocked yourself to make the most of it.”
Stores supplied by Tesco-owned Booker will be unaffected by the strike.
Asked to comment on the impact on One Stop stores, a Tesco spokesperson told Retail Express: “Customers will not be impacted by any industrial action and should be reassured that full contingency plans are in place.”
McCrossen said the strike was “a last resort” in response to Tesco’s offer of a lower than inflation (RPI) pay increase proposal. He claimed staff at another Tesco distribution centre five miles away in Thurrock were being paid £1.39 more per hour for doing the same work. A Tesco spokesperson previously described the deal as “fair and competitive” and said 20 other distribution sites had accepted it.
Tesco USDAW shop steward Simon Vincent claimed that an ignored internal pay report conducted by Tesco had suggested a far higher pay increase due to high inflation in local rental prices in Dagenham that were pricing Tesco distribution workers out of their homes.
Read more: Tesco-Booker – what happens next?
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