Members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, employed by pharmaceutical giant GSK are set to escalate their strike action in a dispute over pay.

Hundreds of workers

The 750 workers – who undertake a wide variety of roles including engineers, process technicians, laboratory analysts, warehouse workers and fire officers – have rejected a significantly below inflation offer of six per cent and a one off lump sum of £1,300. This is a substantially below the real inflation rate, RPI, of 11.4 per cent.

The pay offer is in stark contrast to the huge salary of GSK’s chief executive Emma Walmsley, who received £8.4 million last year. It has been estimated that she only has to work a single day to receive the same pay that the employees striking receive for the entire year.

Incredibly wealthy

GSK is an incredibly wealthy company. It's latest financial results reveal it made an operating profit of £8.15 billion, a 26 per cent increase on the previous year.

The cost of resolving Unite’s pay claim would be just 0.05 per cent of the company’s profits. GSK has said they can afford the workers’ pay claim but have decided to use the money in other areas.

Corporate greed

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a clear example of corporate greed on a grand scale. The company is hugely profitable, the chief executive is paid in millions and yet they won’t give the workers a fair pay rise.

“Make no mistake, Unite will be giving its members at GSK its total support. The company’s attitude is indefensible.”

Sites affected

The strike action will involve workers at GSK’s plants at Barnard Castle, Irvine, Montrose, Ulverston, Ware and Worthing. The first strike this month will be at Ware on 9 June (full details of all the strikes in notes for editors). Further strikes will be announced in the coming days.

Unite members took initial strike action in the dispute last month.

Depleted stockpiles

Unite national officer Tony Devlin said: “Strikes have already depleted GSK’s stockpile of medicines and vaccines and fresh industrial action will create further shortages. However, this dispute is totally of GSK’s own making. The company has admitted it can make a fair pay offer but it has chosen not to.”


Notes to editors:

Full strike dates currently announced:

Barnard Castle: Monday 19 June and Wednesday 21 June.

Irvine: Thursday 22 June (from 18:00 until 06:00 Saturday 24 June).

Montrose: Thursday 15 June, Monday 19 June, Thursday 22 June,.

Ulverston: Tuesday 13 June, Friday 16 June.

Ware: Friday 9 June, Monday 12 June.

GSK workers to strike throughout May in pay dispute

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

Email: [email protected]

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.