Socialist Worker

Solidarity can help Superdrug workers win

Issue No. 2178

Strikers discuss the way forward

Strikers discuss the way forward

Superdrug workers have wasted no time in going out to build solidarity for their struggle.

Car loads of pickets go from the picket line every day to hand out leaflets outside Superdrug shops asking shoppers to boycott the company. Strikers have also spoken at trades council and union meetings to win support.

Superdrug is attempting to use scabs to break the strike.

It has set up a scab warehouse in Derbyshire. But it seems to be doing little to undermine the action.

“We’ve heard that they’re shifting 3,000 items a day in Derbyshire,” Joe told Socialist Worker. “But we could do that in five minutes – it’s nothing.”

Meanwhile, stock is sitting in the Superdrug warehouse at South Elmsall and many workers believe that much of it will end up being written off – costing the company thousands of pounds.

Strikers took part in a mass meeting outside the warehouse on Thursday of last week. Davey Hall, the secretary for the North East region of their Unite union, addressed the pickets.

“This is going to be a long haul,” he told them. He announced that the Unite regional committee had made an initial payment of £10,000 for the strikers and that it would be buying a caravan for them to use while on strike.

He also said that letters had been sent to every Unite regional secretary to distribute among their members asking for support for the strike, as well as to other trade unions and the local trades council.


Encouraging a boycott of Superdrug shops can draw attention to the dispute, hit Superdrug’s profits and embarrass the company. But it should be part of a wider strategy to win the strike.

When workers at Ford Visteon occupied their plants in protest at being sacked in March this year, they embarrassed Ford by picketing its showrooms.

But it was when they threatened to picket out workers at Ford’s Bridgend plant that the firm was really shaken.

It immediately announced that it would talk – and workers won redundancy packages.

Picketing out workers at Superdrug’s Dunstable site – and targeting the scab centre in Derbyshire – would raise the stakes with Superdrug bosses and put workers in a stronger position to win the dispute.

Rush messages of support to and donations to Superdrug Strike Fund, Unite the union, 55 Calls Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BW

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