Morrisons supermarkets across Scotland could be hit by food shortages in the run-up to Christmas

Morrisons supermarkets across Scotland could be hit by food shortages in the run- up to Christmas as an industrial action ballot gets under way today at its distribution partner XPO Logistic.

More than 600 GMB union members at the Eurocentral depot near Bellshill, Lanarkshire, will be asked to support strike action after XPO management breached the terms of an Acas conciliation agreement over its payroll and pensions arrangements.

XPO is a main distributor of produce to Morrisons’ 60 stores in Scotland.

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It represents the latest in a series of employment relations issues affecting staff at XPO.

Woman shopper shopping in Morrisons. Picture: David Bagnall/Shutterstock

Earlier this year, workers there voted in a consultative ballot by a majority of 97.8 per cent to move to strike action following the non-payment of both pay and pension contributions.

A strike ballot was initially avoided after GMB and XPO reached the now broken agreement over payroll and pensions under the auspices of Acas in September.

The industrial action ballot, which runs until 25 November, involves all occupations, including drivers and warehouse operators.

Bob Deavy, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “XPO management are treating their employees with utter contempt and their failure to stick to a basic Acas agreement has shattered any confidence there may have been left among staff.

“In good faith we agreed with XPO a compensatory payment of £25 for any staff member that experiences a shortfall in their wages while the employer works to make their payroll system fit for purpose. It’s a sorry state of affairs when an employer can’t even get their stopgap measures right and just two months after conciliation with Acas they are breaching the terms of their own mitigation strategy.”

Mr Deavey added: “We’ve been left with little choice but to move to a full industrial action ballot and, based on the depth of feeling among staff, the prospect of a strike affecting distributions to XPO’s key client Morrisons is almost certain.”

An XPO spokesperson: “We entered into the ACAS conciliation agreement in good faith and are confident that any remaining issues can be resolved.

“We’re committed to delivering on our promise to our customer during the holiday season.”