1. CPG: Beverage

Pepsico dismisses ‘festive crisps famine’ suggestion

Trade union Unite is claiming Eddie Stobart is refusing to recognise the union for pay negotiations for lorry drivers on its Warrington-based Walkers crisp contract and is trying to impose a pay freeze on the workforce.

The strike action ballot will open on 1 December and will close on 9 December. If the members of Unite vote for industrial action, strikes will begin in Christmas week.

Unite regional officer, Steve Gerrard, said: “Our members were designated as key workers and worked throughout the pandemic and despite all their efforts Eddie Stobart believes that it is acceptable to impose a pay freeze.”

He added: “If strike action does occur, and with major retailers relying on just-in-time delivery systems, especially at the busiest time of the year, there will quickly be empty shelves in supermarkets, where Walkers’ products are usually found.

“Industrial action is always taken as a last resort, but Unite members believe they have no option but to ballot for strike action to ensure that Stobart tables a fair pay offer and honours its previous commitments.

“It is not too late for Stobart’s management to avert industrial action by seeing sense and entering into proper pay negotiations, fully involving Unite and its officials and making a fair pay offer.”

In response, Pepsico said: “We are confident this issue will not result in a shortage of crisps this Christmas. We are aware a union is proposing industrial action with some lorry drivers working for our distribution supplier. There are contingency plans in place so that shelves will remain stocked.”

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