Eddie Stobart embroiled in trade union’s call for legal action over ongoing dispute

Sharon Graham

Trade union, Unite, has reported Warrington-based logistics firm Eddie Stobart to the Department for Business and Trade in an ongoing industrial dispute.

It regards a pay row the union has with Irn Bru drinks giant AG Barr, in which it claims it has potentially engaged in illegal activity during industrial action at the company’s production and distribution centre in Cumbernauld, Scotland.

The union is demanding an investigation into the soft-drinks giant for the potential use of agency labour through its contractors, Stobart and Streamline, during previous rounds of strike action, and is calling for any possible enforcement action to be taken.

It is a criminal offence for employment agencies to supply labour to employers, specifically for the purposes of covering work normally carried out by employees who are taking part in lawful industrial action, under The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003.

Unite represents trucker and shunter drivers who are essential to the supply of AG Barr’s world-renowned products including Irn-Bru.

The workers are scheduled to take further strike action on six dates throughout September in the increasingly bitter pay dispute.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “AG Barr is displaying nasty anti-union tactics in an attempt to bully and intimidate our members back to work. Unite will not tolerate this behaviour and we will challenge it head-on in the defence of our members’ jobs, pay and conditions.”

Andy Brown, Unite industrial officer, said: “AG Barr’s conduct during Unite’s pay dispute has left a very sour taste in the mouths of our members. Our members will continue to fight for fair pay at AG Barr.”

An AG Barr spokeswoman said: “We strongly refute the provocative accusations by Unite the union that we have potentially engaged in illegal activity during industrial action.

“This is untrue and strongly denied. We respect our drivers’ decision to take industrial action, which is their personal choice. We have done nothing to deter or intimidate them.”

A spokesperson for Cambridge-based Streamline Shipping Group said: “Streamline Shipping Group does not supply agency drivers to AG Barr or any other client. At no point has the scope of Streamline’s work with AG Barr increased during or because of any industrial action.”

Eddie Stobart has been contacted for comment.