Socialist Worker

All-out strike at Yorkshire Superdrug warehouse

by Joe Henry
Issue No. 2177

On the picket line at Superdrug

On the picket line at Superdrug

The biggest dispute to hit South Elmsall in Yorkshire since the Great Miners’ Strike ended in 1985 is taking place at Superdrug.

Some 260 warehouse workers are entering their second week of all-out strike action.

Last month the Unite union balloted its 261 members and 86 percent voted for strike action.

The workers started an indefinite strike on Wednesday of last week.

They face an assault on their wages, conditions and pensions. Workers have been told they will be dismissed if they do not sign new contracts.

Bosses are planning wage cuts of £1,800 a year, with shift allowances to be withdrawn along with overtime premiums.

The workers complain of widespread bullying and intimidation. They fear that if the strike is lost, their jobs will not be worth having.

Strikers believe management is using the recession as a excuse to “level down” pay with another depot in Dunstable.

Sick to death

One striker, Paul, told Socialist Worker, “We are sick to death of our people on the shopfloor being manipulated and taken advantage of because of the economic crisis.”

Superdrug made £37 million profit last year.

The South Elmsall distribution centre is completely closed and this is expected to hit profits in the run-up to Christmas.

Superdrug has set up a scabbing operation at Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Undeterred, the strikers responded magnificently by visiting Superdrug shops, urging a boycott.

Half of the strikers are picketing while the others are out raising solidarity.

A protest was set to take place at the Dunstable plant as Socialist Worker went to press. The workers may also need to picket the scabbing operation at Ilkeston.

Send messages of support to and donations to Superdrug Strike Fund, Unite the union,

55 Calls Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BW

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Article information

Tue 10 Nov 2009, 18:52 GMT
Issue No. 2177
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