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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Stobart questions SIPTU organised strike action and plans to ballot staff

The transport company, one of Tesco’s main distributors, will carry out its own ballot of staff who it says have expressed concern and confusion about planned strike action on Thursday.

A Stobart truck (File photo)
A Stobart truck (File photo)
Image: Eddie Stobart/PA Archive/Press Association Images

TRANSPORT COMPANY STOBART Ireland has said that it will ballot its staff tomorrow after questioning a SIPTU-organised strike which is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

The British-based company is the main distributor for Tesco supermarkets in Ireland and a planned work stoppage by some of its 122 drivers this Thursday would potentially cause a major disruption to the retailer’s supply chain.

But Stobart today questioned the trade union’s announcement on Friday that staff planned to take industrial action over the transport company’s supposed refusal to discuss grievances over excessive working hours and health and safety issues.

Stobart said it has received strong feedback from drivers that they do not wish to strike while other drivers have said they are not aware of the industrial action. It now plans to ballot all 122 staff with proceedings to be overseen by a retired Assistant Garda Commissioner.

“We have spoken with as many drivers as possible over the past 48 hours and it is becoming increasingly clear that full support for SIPTU’s decision to strike does not exist,” a spokesperson for Stobart Ireland said.

“Many drivers have contacted us to say they were unaware of the SIPTU decision in the first place. Others have told us they want nothing to do with strike action. It is clear that drivers are confused and concerned.”

In a statement on Friday, SIPTU sector organiser Karan O’Loughlin, said the drivers would strike on Thursday to highlight their concerns although she did not expand on the specifics of the grievances.

“Eddie Stobart could solve its industrial relations problems by just listening to its drivers and doing something about the health and safety concerns they are raising,” she said.

“What the company don’t get is that their drivers have no alternative but to stop work in order to highlight their grievances. They are driving the length and breadth of the country and are tired from excessive working. They know this can’t continue and so should Eddie Stobart.”

O’Loughlin could not be reached for comment this afternoon.

Stobart Ireland says it will undertake a secret and independent ballot at its facility in Ballymun in Dublin tomorrow with Martin Donnellan, a retired Assistant Garda Commissioner, overseeing proceedings.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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