Newspaper deliveries to newsagents across the UK could be hit as staff at Menzies Distribution gear up for strike action for the first time ever over a ‘pitiful’ pay offer.
Unite, the country’s largest union, warned that commuters won’t receive their favourite read at stations, particularly in the south east and Scotland, when 300 packers, pickers and drivers go on strike.
The pay offer that has been imposed from April sees wages at £7.25 an hour – only five pence above the new ‘national living wage’ of £7.20. Double time pay and time off in lieu for seven of the eight bank holidays have been swept away and workers now just get basic pay for bank holidays.
Unite members voted with 86 per cent in favour of strike action and by 91 per cent for industrial action short of a strike – exact dates for industrial action will be announced in the next fortnight.
Unite national officer for the graphical, paper and media sector Ian Tonks said: “For the first time ever our members working for Menzies Distribution have overwhelmingly voted for strike action which is a strong indication of their anger at the pitiful pay offer.
“This strike - the dates to be announced – will cause severe disruption to the distribution of newspapers and magazines to newsagents and railway stations, particularly in the south east and Scotland.
“The wiping out of extra pay and time off for bank holidays have caused particular ire for our members, compounded by this company’s cloying addiction to minimum wage pay levels.
“Unite hopes that the threat of strike action will focus the minds of the management and that they get around the negotiating table and put forward a pay award that truly reflects the hard work that our members do 24/7.”
The main distribution centres include Ashford, Aylesford, Bromley-by-Bow, Greenwich, Norwich, Ipswich, Portsmouth, West Thurrock and Weybridge in England. The main sites in Scotland are at Dundee, Dunfermline, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Irvine, and Paisley.
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.