Jon Dale, Mansfield Socialist Party
450 Unite members are in their ninth week of strike action against Wincanton – the logistics company running the vast Worksop site for B&Q.
After helping B&Q’s parent company, Kingfisher, and Wincanton rack up massive profits during the pandemic, workers are demanding a pay rise at least keeping up with inflation. With prices rising fast, the longer Wincanton hold out, the higher the cost to them will be!
Workers are also fed up with management harassment. As one picket said: “It’s like we’ve gone back 100 years.” Trade union reps have also been pressured (unsuccessfully) to leave the company.
The workers have been strengthened after a 100% vote to strike (on a 97% turnout) by drivers at the Cambuslang depot near Glasgow. The Unite union members are employed by GXO, another massive logistics company. Drivers at Doncaster and Worksop depots are also to vote on whether to strike, which would leave B&Q and Screwfix stores without deliveries.
If the depot workers and drivers strike together, it will maximise pressure on B&Q to press Wincanton and GXO to settle.
Already there is evidence of the pressure the strike is causing, with bare shelves in local stores. Trade unionists and socialists are leafleting staff and customers in stores in solidarity with the Worksop strikers.