Food and drink workers vote on strike action over 'real-terms pay cut'

Members of the GMB trade union are carrying out a ballot on strike action at five DS Smith packaging sites.

DS Smith packaging workers in Scotland vote on strike action over ‘real-terms pay cut’ iStock

Christmas packaging at some of the UK’s best known food and drink brands could face difficulty as factory workers across the UK vote on possible strike action.

Members of the GMB Union at company DS Smith, which makes corrugated packaging for Chivas, Diageo and Seabrooks crisps, are balloting for industrial action of what they have described as a real-terms pay cut.

Almost 1,000 workers at DS Smith, who also produce packaging for BrewDog, Pepsico, Princes and KP Snacks, are involved in the ballot which will run until November 2.

Five sites across the UK are taking part in the ballot, including one Scottish factory in Livingston.

The union say workers are £200 a month worse off as a result of the cost of living crisis.

They say bosses have refused to increase an offer of a 3% consolidated increase plus a non-consolidated payment of £760 for the 2022-23 period. 

The deal has been decibed by the GMB as a “big real-terms pay cut” as a result of inflation at 12.3%.

Andy Prendergast, GMB National Secretary, said: “DS Smith workers say the cost of living crush has made them £200 a month worse off, through no fault of their own. 

“These are the same staff who worked through the pandemic, helping to keep the business afloat. 

“Now workers need the company to recognise their efforts with a decent pay offer that helps confront soaring inflation and eye-watering energy bills in the months ahead, rather than hanging them out to dry.

“DS Smith can afford to do better.” 

Sites involved in the ballot are Louth in Lincolnshire, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Clay Cross in Derbyshire, Devizes in Wiltshire and Livingston in Scotland.

A spokesperson for DS Smith said: “As with any matter of this kind, DS Smith does not comment publicly on the details of a confidential process. Discussions are ongoing and we will continue to work together with all those involved.”

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