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HGV drivers at Booker’s Thamesmead depot have voted unanimously to strike over a pay dispute.

Unite the Union balloted 40 members over strike action during the last two weeks of August after drivers at Booker’s Hemel Hempstead site were given a temporary £5 per hour pay hike in a bid to tackle the national driver shortage.

The union is seeking a similar pay rate uplift for the drivers at Thamesmead. So far Booker has refused.

Following the results of the ballot, Unite said it was “poised to issue notice” to the Tesco-owned wholesaler.

Crunch talks between Booker and Unite representatives are scheduled for 21 September.

The strike could risk supply to more than 1,500 Londis, Premier, Budgens and Happy Shopper convenience stores across London and the south east.

“We are naturally disappointed with last week’s ballot result from our Thamesmead drivers but look forward to sitting down with their Unite representatives and working together to find a resolution,” said a Booker spokeswoman.

Unite regional officer Paul Travers added: “This is really ‘smell the coffee’ time for the bosses at Booker Retail Partners. Our members at Thamesmead could not have sent out a clearer message, 100% voting in favour of strike action. If those talks don’t result in a fair settlement, there will be strikes as our members are up for a long, drawn-out fight for pay justice.”

Strike action by GXO draymen, who deliver 40% of the country’s beer to pubs, was avoided last week after an agreement was reached on a 4% pay increase to staff. 

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