B&Q driver’s fury over unfair pay at Swindon depot

A furious B&Q driver has complained that workers at the company's Swindon[1] depot are being treated unfairly by their contractor in a pay dispute. The HGV driver claims that GXO Logistics, which employs drivers on behalf of B&Q, has agreed to give employees at the Cambuslang, Doncaster and Worksop distribution centres a 9 per cent  pay rise but has not offered the Swindon depot the same. GXO Logistics did not say whether the other depots had received the 9 per cent pay rise but a Unite spokesman confirmed they had.

One Swindon driver has been working on contract for over a decade and said he has never felt so frustrated in all his working years. He described how he would struggle to cope financially without the night shift premiums.  He said: "It just makes it stressful and we feel hateful towards the job.

"All we want is the same offer they've been given in Doncaster and Worksop. We're contracted by the same employer working for the same company. "It doesn't make sense and it makes people very angry, especially with the economic situation at the moment. 

"How can the same company pay drivers less in some parts of the country?" "Now it's gone to arbitration and that could take weeks, months, we don't really know. No one is giving us an answer on that.

"Drivers are having to rely on overtime to cover any other expenses which we shouldn't have to do. "The cost of living in the south is higher than in Worksop and Doncaster and we have to drive around London to deliver to stores there which can be very stressful." This particular driver works one overtime a month and is still feeling the squeeze.

While he usually has money left over to put aside, his wages are now all taken up by bills. Swindon's GXO drivers at B&Q are represented by Usdaw whereas Unite the union covers employees at Doncaster, Cambuslang and Worksop. Lorry drivers at the Cambuslang centre voted to take strike action in response to a below inflation pay offer earlier this year.

And drivers at the Doncaster and Worksop B&Q centres employed by GXO considered strike action over pay in January. 

450 Wincanton warehouse workers at B&Q's Worksop distribution centre went on strike from November until a pay deal worth 10.75 per cent was agreed in February. Inflation is expected to rise above 7 per cent this year. Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said at the time: "Extremely profitable B&Q has a responsibility to ensure that the workers in its supply chain are paid a reasonable wage.

"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."

In response to the Swindon B&Q depot dispute, a GXO spokesman said: "We are committed to being an employer of choice for our employees and our customers.

"Discussions are ongoing in order to reach agreement with all parties involved."

Usdaw was approached for comment.

References

  1. ^ Swindon (www.thisiswiltshire.co.uk)