Unite members vote to accept improved pay offer that guarantees a living wage for all staff

Tim Lezard

B&QWorkers at B&Q’s warehouse in Burton-on-Trent have voted overwhelmingly to accept an improved pay offer which now guarantees all employees receive the ‘living wage’.

Unite hailed the result as ‘a victory against poverty wages’, following its campaign which highlighted that some workers could not afford to put food on the table.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The union has established a good relationship with Wincanton, which took control of the site from Ceva Logistics in February this year.

“All Unite members are now being paid a ‘living wage’. The deal also saw management reverse price increases in the workers’ canteen, as well as a new site agreement regulating shut-downs.

“Once again the value of collective bargaining is there for all to see – this is a victory for the ‘living wage’. Despite difficult retail trading conditions, Unite has secured real pay progress for its members.”

Under the improved offer, hourly rates will increase by 7.1 per cent during the next 12 months. The offer, which is a three-year deal, is 5.1 per cent paid on 1 February 2013, with back pay of 2.4 per cent from 1 February 2012. A further two per cent will be paid on 1 February 2014.

Before Christmas, Unite launched a campaign for a ‘living wage’ for workers at B&Q’s Branston warehouse and demanded that the profitable B&Q end poverty pay rates of £6.57 and £7.35 at the warehouse.

Out of 240 operatives, none were earning more than £7.35. Some workers complained that they could not afford to feed themselves and their families on their current pay.

Workers at the warehouse had their pay frozen in 2009 and 2010 and suffered a below inflation pay rise in 2011.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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