Strike action a threat to B&Q's supply flow

B&Q stores across the country are facing disruption as driving staff at a Scottish distribution centre have voted to take strike action over pay.

Mark Dowie
Thursday, 13th January 2022, 3:00pm
Strike action a threat to B&Q's supply flow
B&Q’s store in Arbroath. The company is facing delivery disruption due to industrial action at distribution centres and by HGV drivers. (Google)

The move by the HGV drivers, employed on behalf of the company by GXO, follows a move to strike action by more than 450 workers at B&Q’s national distribution centre at Wincanton.

Staff had previously taken action over pay, severely impacting store deliveries across the country.

Trade union Unite warned further disruption is looming as HGV drivers in England are also considering pay strikes, which would impact the DIY giant’s nationwide distribution centre in Doncaster as well as further disrupt the Worksop site.

Sharon Graham, general secretary, said: “Extremely profitable B&Q has a responsibility to ensure that the workers in its supply chain are paid a reasonable wage.

"The fact that this is not the case is now coming back to bite them.

“Wincanton workers at its Worksop warehouse earn so little, that usage of foodbanks and emergency loans are not uncommon among the workforce. Meanwhile, GXO HGV drivers on the B&Q contract are expected to shoulder de-facto wage cuts in the form of a below inflation pay offer.

“Unite fights to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of our members. We make no apology for demanding that B&Q step in and get its supply chain partners, whose profits are skyrocketing off the backs of Unite members, to table acceptable pay offers.”

B&Q owner Kingfisher’s half year pre-tax profits rose by 61.6 per cent to £669 million in 2021, with sales at the DIY-giant increasing by 28.8 per cent in the first six months to July.

Meanwhile, GXO Logistics’ 2020 profits were £1.2bn - up 20 per cent from 2019. During the same period, the pay of GXO’s highest paid directors increased by 100 per cent to £1.3m from £651,000.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “We know that the strike in Worksop is now causing a significant delivery backlog to B&Q stores across the country.

"This will only get worse as the strike continues.

“Further strikes in the separate dispute in Cambuslang, as well as the potential for drivers in Doncaster and Worksop to also down tools as part of their dispute, means B&Q could be facing a very rocky start to 2022.

“Unite is more than happy to sit down with B&Q, Wincanton and GXO to find a solution that our members can accept so that business can return to normal.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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