Superdrug distribution centre staff set to strike over changes to terms and conditions

More than 260 Superdrug workers look set to strike this afternoon in a row over changes to their employment terms and conditions.

Staff at the company’s national distribution centre in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, plan to take industrial action over changes to shift pay, which could slash some wage packets by more than £2,000 per year, and planned reductions to overtime payments and sickness entitlement.

According to the union Unite, the retail giant was also seeking the power to change shifts or schedule short or long shifts at only seven days’ notice.

Superdrug also wants the workforce to opt out of the 48-hour European Working Time Directive, the union said.

The strike at the firm’s national distribution centre will see the delivery of cosmetics, medication and products such as perfume and aftershave hit in the run up to the peak Christmas shopping period at 300 stores nationwide.

Unite regional officer John Evans said: “This is an outrageous attack on the terms and conditions of Superdrug’s long-standing employees. These workers have people who depend on them, they provide for their families so they cannot accept proposals that would pick their pockets and place them at the beck and call of the company.

“It is little wonder that the workers are angry at this attack and determined to fight to protect their pay and conditions.”

Superdrug confirmed a review was announced at the beginning of June, which was likely to result in proposals to “realign terms and conditions” of colleagues working at the Dunstable, Pontefract and Avonmouth distribution centres.

A Superdrug spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that as a result of this proposal we have received notice of planned industrial action at our distribution centre in Pontefract beginning on 4 November until further notice.

“It is with regret that the union has chosen this course of action and we continue to be keen to reach a satisfactory conclusion to our consultations to meet our objectives of protecting operations in these uncertain times and safeguarding jobs for the long term.”

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