A "SENSE of betrayal" at plans by a supermarket giant to outsource nearly 400 drivers and mechanics has triggered a consultative ballot on whether to take strike action to fight this move, a union has claimed.

Unite has sent ballot papers to its members at three Morrison sites in Stockton, Wakefield in West Yorkshire and Gadbrook in Cheshire asking them whether they wish to proceed to a full scale industrial ballot.

The core of the dispute is Morrisons’ plan to transfer the transport operation at the three distribution sites to Wincanton and the vehicle maintenance teams at the same sites to Pullmans, a Wincanton subsidiary, from August this year.

Adrian Jones, Unite national officer for road transport and logistics, said: "There is a deep sense of betrayal and upsurge of anger by our nearly 400 drivers and mechanics that this transfer is being imposed on them without any consultation.

“Morrisons may think this is ‘a done deal’, but our members are currently holding a consultative ballot, which closes on Monday, on whether they wish to proceed to a full-scale ballot, with the option for strike action.

“Our members have been working directly for Morrisons for many years, and feel let down that this decision has been made without the involvement of their union.

“In the past, Morrisons has prided itself on controlling its supply chain. In future, products may be ‘made’ by Morrisons, but in the North of England they won’t be delivered by Morrisons.

“If the company refuses to stop the transfer, there is a very real prospect of strike action later in the summer that could cause havoc for deliveries to Morrisons’ stores across the North."

A Morrisons spokesperson said: "We want to talk to all our colleagues' representatives and we hope to see Unite at our consultative meetings over the coming days.

"We want to listen to what they say about this agreement, which transfers our colleagues jobs to a leading logistics company with comparable terms and conditions. There will be no job losses."