The 24-hour strike due to be held tomorrow (Friday 30 June) over the ‘equal pay for equal work’ dispute at Hemel Hempstead, which has implications for deliveries to Marks & Spencer food stores, has been suspended for talks to take place.
Unite the union said this afternoon (Thursday 29 June) that it was meeting the management of GIST Ltd at a venue in Hertfordshire tomorrow for talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas.
Unite regional officer Alan Brkljac said: “We will be holding talks with the management tomorrow under the umbrella of Acas and we will be entering into those negotiations in a constructive frame of mind.
“As a result of these talks, tomorrow’s 24-hour strike by about 20 of our members has been suspended. However, we have eleven more 24-hour strikes planned, if we can’t reach a satisfactory agreement.
“GIST has the contract to supply M&S stores nationally and any strike action would cause disruption to more than 100 M&S stores in London and the south east at weekends.”
The crux of the dispute centres on the 20 ‘pickers and loaders’ earning about £22,000-a-year under a local agreement, while an estimated 280 workers under national terms and conditions earn about £30,000 for doing the same work.
The other strikes at the Three Cherry Trees site are scheduled for 7, 14, 22, and 28 July; and 4, 11, 18, and 25 August; and 1, 8 and 15 September.
The origins of the dispute go back to 2008 when there was a local arrangement to supply food to BP garages, but since then the logistics has expanded and changed with those covered by the local agreement now working for the M&S national contract.
The Unite members had voted unanimously for strike action.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.