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Sun June 13 2021

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Marshalls drivers go on strike

8 Jun 16 Drivers working for landscape products group Marshalls will stage a 24-hour strike on Monday 13th June in their long-running dispute over overtime pay.

The dispute is about the disparity in overtime payments for the LGV drivers that deliver to customers from 14 manufacturing sites across the UK. Drivers receive time and a third for overtime worked, while manufacturing employees get time and a half.

The drivers are represented by Unite, the country’s largest union, which warned that industrial action could escalate if the issue was not resolved.

Unite warned that Marshalls’ two biggest customers, Travis Perkins with 1,900 outlets and Jewson with more than 600 branches, were liable to face disruption from the strike. Marshalls said it had contingency plans in place to prevent this happening.

Unite national officer for construction and allied trades, John Allott said: “This vote for industrial action demonstrates a sense of anger among drivers at Marshalls over pay and the increasingly belligerent attitude of management.

“The last thing our members want to do is to take industrial action and cause disruption for the two biggest customers of Marshalls – Travis Perkins and Jewson. But faced with an increasingly hostile management, our members have clearly signalled they are prepared to take industrial action to achieve pay justice. 

“We would urge the company to engage meaningfully with Unite to resolve the dispute and improve industrial relations for the long-term.”

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A spokesperson for Marshalls said: “Naturally we are very disappointed that our HGV driver Unite members have taken the decision to move to strike action, particularly when we have been actively communicating with them over the issues under discussion.

“Marshalls believes it offers a very competitive driver’s package, with rates far in excess of the industry average, and attractive working patterns. As a result, in a sector where there is a national shortage of HGV drivers, Marshalls has had no difficulty in attracting quality drivers into the business and the company enjoys very low attrition, with the majority of our drivers being with the company for many years.

“Only around half of Marshalls’ drivers are union members, and many have also stated that they do not want or intend to participate in strike action. Furthermore, Marshalls is well positioned to supplement the existing fleet with external haulage providers and has detailed contingency plans in place to support our customers should the action continue.

“As ever, Marshalls remains committed to working with our Unite members to attempt to resolve the issue.”

Adding fuel to certain drivers’ sense of grievance is the 87% increase in chief executive Martin Coffey’s remuneration package last year, taking it to more than £2m a year, Unite pointed out.

The 24-hour strike will start at 1am on 13th June.

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