Published: 12:52, 13 October 2021
| Updated: 12:54, 13 October 2021
Hundreds of lorry drivers employed at one of Sainsbury's main distribution hubs have secured a "significant" pay rise after threatening strike action.
Staff at the DHL site near the Dartford Crossing which supplies the supermarket chain had threatened to walk out in a dispute over pay.
More than 200 lorry drivers signalled their willingness to strike in a ballot held in August, prompting fears of a shortage of goods on shop shelves.
It comes as many stores and businesses feel the pinch of a nationwide lack of HGV drivers.
But a looming crisis at the distribution centre in Rennie Drive, which supplies Sainsbury's shops across Kent and London, appears to have been averted for the time being.
The union Unite says it has secured a "significant" pay rise for more than 200 DHL lorry drivers.
The increase, worth 6.2 per cent, equates to at least £2,200 pound a year.
Unite regional officer Phil Silkstone said: “Following negotiations with Unite, DHL put forward a pay offer that was acceptable to their Dartford workforce.
“This significant pay rise is exactly why workers wanting to improve their wages and working lives should join Unite and encourage their colleagues to do the same.”
DHL is contracted to run Sainsbury's regional distribution centre in Dartford, which includes driving and warehouse operations.
The drivers voted by 90 per cent to accept the pay offer.
It is not the first time there has been strike action at the site – a walk-out was threatened at Easter over working conditions.
Previously, industrial action in 2019 was averted after union chiefs negotiated an improved pay offer.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “By standing firm and rejecting DHL’s initial offer of just one per cent, Unite’s DHL members at Sainsbury’s Dartford distribution centre secured a pay deal that reflects their worth.
“As a union, Unite is wholly dedicated to bettering members’ jobs, pay and conditions, either through negotiations or industrial action if necessary.”