Marshalls landscape products drivers ponder next action after strike

Drivers working for landscape products group Marshalls are mulling over their next move after holding a 24-hour strike on Monday 13 June.

The dispute is about overtime pay and Unite trade union has warned industrial action could escalate if management continued to "dig in its heels" over holding constructive negotiations.

Union members are unhappy about disparity in overtime payments for the LGV drivers that deliver to customers from 14 manufacturing sites across the UK.

The drivers receive time and a third for overtime worked, while manufacturing employees get time and a half. The 24-hour strike started at 1am on 13 June and protesters waved placards.

"The overtime dispute has been given extra edge by the fact company chief executive Martin Coffey received an 87% increase in his remuneration package last year, said a Unite spokesman.

"That took it to over £2 million a year. Profits are also up, as are dividends to shareholders."

The industrial action is taking place at Marshalls' depot at Eaglescliffe, a small town in Stockton-on-Tees in north-east England. About half of the companies drivers belong to a union.

Unite national officer John Allott said: "The 24-hour action took place – not all drivers are Unite members and some wagons went; a lot didn't.

"The drivers are now in talks with us to decide their next action. What the options are and the action taken is between the union and the drivers."

He added: "This vote for industrial action demonstrates a sense of anger among drivers at Marshalls over pay and the increasingly belligerent attitude of management."

Before the 24-hour strike, Unite had warned that Marshalls’ two biggest customers, Travis Perkins with 1,900 outlets and Jewson with more than 600 branches, could be disrupted.

But a spokeswoman from Marshalls said: "A small number of our drivers who belong to Unite took part in industrial action. The action was peaceful and no customer service levels were impacted."

The company insisted it offered a "very competitive driver’s package, with rates far in excess of the industry average, and attractive working patterns".

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