Black Friday deliveries may be hit by packaging workers' strike action

Workers at about 40 corrugated packaging factories operated by DS Smith, Saica and Smurfit Kappa to strike over pay

Parcel and pizza deliveries could be hit over the busiest online shopping weekend of the year after thousands of cardboard packaging workers voted for strike action over pay.

Workers at about 40 corrugated packaging factories operated by DS Smith, Saica and Smurfit Kappa have rejected a 2% pay rise, claiming their rewards have fallen behind as the companies increased profits.

The GMB and Unite unions, which represent about 2,500 of the 3,000 workers at the factories who are all covered by a national pay agreement, said they planned an overtime ban from Saturday 26 November and a day of strike action on Monday 28 November.

The action could affect parcel deliveries during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping days of the year. Amazon and Domino’s Pizza are major clients of the factories.

Stuart Fegan, the GMB national officer, said: “We don’t want to cause problems for peoples’ Christmas shopping – but if we have to, we will.

“Our members are clearly fed up of seeing their employers make increasing profits in this sector while their wages fall behind in real terms.

“We urge the employers to get back around the negotiating table and make an offer to our members in respect of their pay claim which recognise the profits these companies are making and the contribution of our members towards those profits.”

Packaging companies have benefited as the volume of parcels sent out by retailers has risen. This year 12% more parcels are expected to go through the system as online sales rise 16% to £1.27bn, according to the online retail industry body IMRG.
Ian Tonks, Unite’s national officer, said: “Clearly these are profitable companies and our members recognise their contribution towards that profitability and their efforts need rewarding.”

DS Smith, Saica and Smurfit Kappa were unavailable for comment.


Sarah Butler

The GuardianTramp

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