B&Q shortages warning

DIYers braced for nationwide B&Q store shortages after Wincanton causes warehouse strikes

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DIYers across the country are braced for B&Q store shortages during warehouse strikes caused by union-busting and a below inflation pay offer at logistics firm Wincanton.

More than 400 Wincanton staff, who work at B&Q’s Worksop distribution centre, which distributes stock nationally, will begin strike action later this month over the victimisation of union reps and pay.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Wincanton’s union-busting and below inflation pay offer means that you won’t be able to do it if you B&Q it because the Worksop distribution centre will be at a standstill.

“Unite is entirely dedicated to improving the pay, terms and conditions of our members. Crucial to this is the union’s amazing network of dedicated reps. Attempts to victimise them will not be tolerated ever,” she added.

Unite accused Wincanton of taking out unjustified disciplinaries against the union’s reps at the Worksop distribution centre, as well as reducing facility time to prevent the reps carrying out their trade union duties.

Wincanton’s parent company is Kingfisher, which also owns B&Q. Kingfisher made half year pre-tax profits of £669 million in 2020, the majority coming from B&Q, and it has continued to perform well throughout 2021.

Unite said its Worksop depot members expect a pay rise that reflects the rising cost of living after working throughout the pandemic to keep the business healthy.

Two weekly cycles consisting of seven days of all out strike action followed by a seven-day overtime ban will begin on 28 November and continue until 20 February.

Unite regional officer Garry Guye noted, “B&Q will not be pleased that its Christmas stock will be disrupted because Wincanton has caused a row with staff with its insulting pay offer and attempts to undermine collective bargaining.

“There is still time to avoid strike action, but Wincanton must end the union-busting and table a pay offer that meets our members’ expectations.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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