Hundreds of workers employed by pharmaceutical giant GSK will stage a series of walkouts throughout May in a dispute over pay.

Real terms pay cut

The 750 workers who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, voted for strike action having rejected the company’s significantly below inflation rate pay offer of a six per cent pay increase and a one off lump sum of £1,300. This is a substantial real terms pay cut with the current true inflation rate (RPI) standing at 13.5 per cent.

Strike action will be spread throughout May with workers at all six sites Barnard Castle, Irvine, Montrose, Ware, Worthing and Ulverston striking on different dates at different times to maximise the effectiveness of the industrial action (see notes to editors). 

Incredibly wealthy company

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is an incredibly wealthy company that can fully afford to pay its workers a fair pay offer. This is a classic example of a company seeking to further boost its profits at the expense of its workers.

“Unite has a laser like focus on defending and enhancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workforce at GSK will be receiving Unite’s complete support.”

£8 billion profits

GSK is an incredibly wealthy company its latest result reveal it made an operating profit of £8.15 billion, a 26 per cent increase on the previous year. 

The workers undertake a variety of roles at the company and include: engineers, process technicians, laboratory analysts, warehouse workers and fire officers. 

Widespread disruption

Unite national officer Tony Devlin said: “Strike action will inevitably result in widespread disruption across GSK’s operations, but the company has brought this dispute on itself. It has had every opportunity to make a pay offer which meets member expectations, but it has failed to do so.

“GSK has effectively stuck two fingers up to its workforce by walking away from the pay negotiations.”


Notes to editors

Full details of industrial action:

Montrose 2 May at 06:00 until 4 May at 06:00.

Irvine: 4 May at 06:00 to 5May at 06:00. 16 May at 06:00 to 17 May at 06:00. 30 May at 06:00 until 18:00.

Ware: 09 May at 06:00 to 11 May at 07:00.

Barnard Castle: 10 May at 06:00 to 12 May at 07:10

Worthing: 15 May at 07:00 to 16 May at 07:00. 19 May at 07:00 to 20 May at 07:00.

Ulverston: 24 May at 06:30 to 26th May at 07:10.


 For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.


Email: [email protected]


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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.