Delivery staff plan Valentine's Day-themed pay protest at M&S

The protest is set to take place on February 14, with Unite the Union branding delivery firm Arrow XL a 'heartbreaker'.

Delivery staff plan Valentine’s Day-themed protest at Marks and Spencer on Argyle Street, Glasgow iStock

Glasgow delivery staff are planning a Valentine’s Day-themed demonstration outside Marks and Spencer in protest against the “poverty pay” of partner delivery companies.

Unite the Union have criticised the retailer’s commercial partnership with Logistics Group Holdings’ in a long-running pay dispute.

The firms subsidiary Arrow XL has been accused of “poverty pay” for employees with around 350 members of Unite currently re-balloting for industrial action.

It comes after the workforce previously held strike action as part of the dispute.

A pay offer from Arrow XL has been rejected by the union due to being below the inflation rate currently standing at 13.4%.

In keeping with the theme of Valentine’s for February 14, protesters are branding Arrow XL a ‘heartbreaker’ and members of Unite will be dressed in Valentine’s Day regalia.

The Glasgow protest is part of a UK-wide action.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Valentine’s Day is about love and romance. But this Valentine’s Day Arrow XL stands out as a real heartbreaker.  

“The bottom line is that M&S is using delivery companies under Logistics Holdings’ umbrella, which condemns workers to live on poverty pay.

“It’s time M&S did more than talk about its company ethics and did something about its rogue supplier Logistic Holdings.”  

Logistic Group Holdings is owned by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay with the parcel delivery firm Yodel also a regular supplier of Marks and Spencer.

As well as M&S, Logistic Group companies are suppliers to other retailers including Holland and Barrett, Jo Malone and Zara.

The protests on Glasgow’s Argyle Street are planned for 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Arrow XL has been given numerous opportunities to resolve this dispute through negotiations, but it has refused to do so.

“The company needs to make a realistic offer and return to the negotiating table in order to resolve this dispute.”

A spokesperson for Arrow XL said: “It is important to note that no colleagues are on strike from ArrowXL. 

“We have already awarded all colleagues the increase that was offered during the negotiations that equates to an average of 8.25% (range of 5% to 35.6%) and made enhancements to sick, maternity, paternity and jury service pay as we are mindful of the cost-of-living challenges our people are facing.

“The pay award has already been backdated to July 1 2022, and follows a series of increasing awards over the last few years of 3.5% in 2021 and 2.8% in 2020. 

“We are extremely disappointed to be in this situation as we believe our pay offer to be fair, particularly in the light of our significantly increased operating costs and the need to keep home delivery charges reasonable for consumers.”

STV News has contacted Marks and Spencer for comment.

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