London’s most prestigious department store Harrods is facing severe disruption later this month, after security guards and CCTV operators, who are members of Unite, announced strike dates in their dispute over pay and unpaid work.
The strikes will take place on February 22, 26 and 29 and then on March 4, 7 . As the first strike is to be held on a Saturday this will cause particular disruption as it is Harrods busiest day of trading.
Last month the workers voted by 97 per cent in favour of strike action on an 84 per cent turnout.
The dispute is a result of Harrods’ management imposing a below inflation pay offer on the workers, which had been decisively rejected in a consultative ballot, rather than return to the negotiating table.
The dispute also concerns workers’ opposition to being required to undertake unpaid work. Before each shift the workers have to attend a separate location 15 minutes before they start work and stay behind after their shift to collect and drop off rotas, keys and DNA spray.
Once every eight weeks the workers are required to attend an unpaid ‘training day’ which also forms part of the dispute.
Unite had, initially delayed the announcement of strike dates, in the hope that Harrods management would make an improved offer but this has not occurred.
Unite regional officer Balvinder Bir said, “Our members are taking strike action as a last resort directly as a result of the management of Harrods refusing to return to the negotiating table and make an improved offer.
“The strike action will inevitably cause disruption to customers at the prestigious store but I hope those affected understand that our members have given the store every opportunity to avoid walkouts.
“Even at this late stage strike action could still be avoided if management make an improved pay offer and end the injustice of forcing workers to work unpaid.”