Primark staff strike on St Patrick’s Day in pay row
Staff at Primark’s Newry store are to strike this Friday and Saturday – one of the busiest weekends of the year – in a row over pay. The strike will begin at 7 AM on Friday and will not end until 7 PM, the following day. 88% of the union’s members voted for action at all of Primark’s eight Northern Ireland stores.
The strike comes after Usdaw – the union representing Primark workers – agreed a pay freeze in 2010, on the understanding that the freeze would not last for two years. In September 2011 Primark posted profits of £644 million, and the chairman of Primark’s parent company ABF put these good results down, in part, to “the hard work and enterprise of our employees”. The union points to the disparity between these profits and employees’ pay freeze in arguing that the freeze is unfair and unnecessary.
Usdaw area organiser, Nicola Scarborough made it clear that the union is “still prepared to sit down and negotiate” with the company, but that they also must “be prepared to table a realistic and meaningful pay offer for our members”. Since this has not happened, members of the union will be picketing outside the eight Primark stores in Northern Ireland, asking customers to support their cause by refusing to cross the picket line.
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