British union Unite suspends Tesco strikes after new pay offer

FILE PHOTO: Tesco opens its first checkout-free store, giving customers the opportunity to shop and pay without scanning a product or using a checkout in London, Britain, October 18, 2021. Picture taken October 18, 2021. Ben Stevens/Parsons Media/Handout via REUTERS

British trade union Unite said on Wednesday that pre-Christmas strike action by workers at four Tesco (TSCO.L) distribution centres had been suspended after an improved pay offer.

Unite said it was recommending its members accept the supermarket group’s offer of a minimum of a 5.5% pay increase backdated to July 2021 and an additional 0.5% from February 2022. The union had previously rejected a 4% offer.

“We’re pleased to have agreed a pay deal with Unite that it recommends to its members. Colleagues at these centres will no longer be taking industrial action,” a Tesco spokesperson said.

Tesco still faces possible walkouts by more than 5,000 members of the Usdaw union at depots in Daventry, Peterborough, Hinckley and Lichfield in central England, Goole in northern England, Southampton in southern England, Livingston in Scotland and Magor in Wales.

Usdaw has said its members will strike from Dec. 20 to Dec. 24 but it is still in dialogue with Tesco, with talks set to resume next week.

The Tesco disputes are examples of the kind of inflation-influenced wage pressure that might unsettle the Bank of England as it ponders whether to become the world’s first big central bank to raise interest rates from their pandemic lows.

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