Workers at GIST’s Hemel Hempstead site will stage 12 24-hour strikes, after claims that about 20 workers were being paid £8,000 a year less than other workers for doing the same job, according to the Unite union. The first strike was due to begin on Friday June 30.
The union claimed that more than 100 M&S stores in London and the south-east would be impacted by the strike action. GIST’s Hemel Hempstead site delivers food to M&S stores across London and the south-east. But, M&S said it had contingency plans in place.
The strike action will come after the 20 GIST ‘pickers and loaders’ were earning about £22,000 a year, while an estimated 280 other workers at the site were being paid about £30,000 for doing the same work, Unite said.
Unite regional officer Alan Brkljac said: “The kernel of this dispute is that the GIST bosses refuse to recognise our members’ case for ‘equal pay for equal work’. We are calling for the workers affected to be integrated into the national agreement because, at present, they earn about £8,000-a-year less than colleagues doing exactly the same work, at the same site.
“GIST has the contract to supply M&S stores nationally, and should these strikes go-ahead there will be disruption to more than 100 M&S stores in London and the south east at weekends. This dispute could be easily resolved if the 20 plus workers were put on the national agreement, that covers 2,000 GIST employees nationwide.”
Operate as normal
But, M&S said its stores would continue to operate as normal if the strikes went ahead.
An M&S spokeswoman said: “We are working closely with our supplier on this. We have contingency plans in place and, if the strike goes ahead, our Hemel Hempstead distribution centre will continue to operate, and deliveries to stores will continue as usual.”
Unite said the 12 strikes were planned for June 30, July 7, 14, 22, 28, August 4, 11, 18, 25, and September 1, 8 and 15.
Nobody at GIST was available for comment on the planned strike action.
Planned GIST strike dates
- June 30
- July 7
- July 14
- July 22
- July 28
- August 4
- August 11
- August 18
- August 25
- September 1
- September 8
- September 15