'Excessive' dairy deliveries prompt strike at Muller

25 August 2022

Drivers at a Müller distribution plant in the UK started a series of strikes yesterday, which could impact the delivery of thousands of items supplied to retailers, including M&S and Waitrose.

Some 70 HGV drivers and shunters at Müller’s Stonehouse factory in Gloucestershire are taking part in two three-day strikes, from 25-27 August, and then 1-3 September over changes to their rota system.

According to workers, the “excessive” changes will mean staff work a five-days-on, two-days-off rota system which will negatively impact their quality of life, and contravene a previous agreement made with union, Unite, earlier this year.

Industrial action means deliveries of milk, flavoured milks and potted cream to retailers M&S and Waitrose will be directly affected, while supplies to Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which also receive deliveries from the same plant, may be impacted to a lesser extent.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The company has deliberately broken an agreement ratified with Unite earlier this year that expressly stated rotas would not change.” She added: “Müller signed an agreement – it must stick to it.”

Unite regional officer Amy Roberts said: "Müller needs to scrap these excessive rota demands."

The Müller site processes more than 100m litres of milk per annum.

Earlier this year, Müller Milk & Ingredients announced plans to recruit 75 more HGV drivers in an effort to secure its deliveries.

It further bolstered delivery commitments by creating its first ever in-house driver examiner post, with the aim to reduce the driver qualification period from 12 months to eight weeks.

In 2021 Müller Milk & Ingredients hit a 99% successful deliveries level.

Müller Milk & Ingredients was contacted for comment.

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