Potential Black Friday shortages as packaging workers vote to strike

Workers at packaging firm DS Smith – which counts Amazon, Brewdog, Diageo and McVities among its clients – have voted for industrial action. Almost 1,000 GMB members at the firm, which also make corrugated packaging for Chivas, Princes and Seabrooks Crisps, are balloting for industrial action over a real terms pay cut.

In total 93% of the GMB members at the company, which counts Brewdog, PepsiCo, Princes and KP snacks among its clients, voted in favour of industrial action. Workers in five sites – Louth in Lincolnshire, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Clay Cross in Derbyshire, Devizes in Wiltshire, and Livingston in Scotland – could take part in the strike as early as the end of November.

DS Smith has tabled an offer which the union says represents a significant real terms pay cut for its members. Eamon O’Hearn, GMB national secretary, said: “DS Smith members worked through the pandemic, helping keep the company afloat through troubled times. It turns out that the company was hugely profitable during the pandemic, now they need to company to step up and help them through the cost of living crisis.

“A strike at DS Smith could have serious implications across a range of household names – not least Amazon which gets packaging from the company. DS Smith need to table a serious offer that respects the contribution of our members, to nip this industrial action in the bud.”

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