Unite – possible industrial action at Menzies

Unite the union has announced that it has balloted its members at Menzies Distribution newspaper delivery service, who have voted for industrial action on the 23rd and 26th September.

In a statement Unite said: “Commuters won’t receive their favourite read at stations, particularly in the south east and Scotland, when 300 packers, pickers and drivers go on strike.”

The union rejected a recent pay offer at £7.25 an hour for packers, pickers and drivers made by the company, with the graphical, paper and media sector national officer Ian Tonks describing the offer as “pitiful”: “For the first time ever our members working for Menzies Distribution have overwhelmingly voted for strike action which is a strong indication of their anger at the pitiful pay offer. 

“This strike – the dates to be announced – will cause severe disruption to the distribution of newspapers and magazines to newsagents and railway stations, particularly in the south east and Scotland. 

In addition to the pay offer, the company has removed double time for seven of the eight national bank holidays. Tonks added “The wiping out of extra pay and time off for bank holidays have caused particular ire for our members, compounded by this company’s cloying addiction to minimum wage pay levels. 

Unite’s statement added: “Three months of negotiations have failed to reach agreement and, as a last resort, the union’s members will strike for 24 hours from 23.00 on Friday 23 September until 23.00 on Saturday 24 September and then for 24 hours from 19.00 on Monday 26 September until 19.00 on Tuesday 27 September.

“There will also be a continuous overtime ban starting at 00:01 on 23 September, which will dovetail with the continuous work to rule which has been in place since 8 August.”

Unite members voted with 86 per cent in favour of strike action and by 91 per cent for industrial action short of a strike – exact dates for industrial action will be announced in the next fortnight. 

The main distribution centres include Ashford, Aylesford, 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.