You might struggle to get your news next week after staff at a distribution company announced they will strike for the first time ever.
Three hundred employees of Menzies Distribution are preparing to hold two 24-hour strikes next Friday from 11pm and on Monday from 7pm, September 26, over a ‘pitiful’ pay offer.
In April the company, which has centers in Larkfield and Ashford, proposed increasing wages to £7.25 an hour — 5p over the national living wage.
Double time pay and time off in lieu for seven of the eight bank holidays have been axed and workers now just get basic pay for bank holidays.
In addition an overtime ban will come into place next Friday, which dovetails with a work to rule which started last month.
“The strikes will cause severe disruption to the distribution of newspapers and magazines to newsagents and railway stations, particularly in the south east and Scotland." — Ian Tonks
After three months of fruitless negotiations Unite, the union, says striking is the only option.
Ian Tonks, Unite national officer for the graphical, paper and media sector, said: “For the first time ever our members working for Menzies Distribution are taking strike action – a sign of their strong rejection of the pitiful pay offer.
“The strikes 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 has caused particular anger among our members, which has been compounded by the bosses’ obsessive addiction to minimum wage pay levels.
“It is still not too late to avert this industrial action and we urge the management to get around the negotiating table and put forward a pay award that truly reflects the hard work that our members do 24/7.”
Menzies also has distribution centres in 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.
Unite members voted 86% in favour of strike action and by 91% for industrial action short of a strike.