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Saturday 15th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

Workers offered measly sum while supervisors awarded bonus

CLOTHING retailer Matalan faces strike action at its Merseyside warehouse in a row over workers’ pay, their union GMB revealed yesterday.

The union are angry that supervisors at the discount retailer’s Knowsley site have been awarded a £1,500 pay rise on top of a 2 per cent increase while low-paid warehouse staff struggle to make ends meet.

Pay talks with Matalan bosses collapsed and Acas was brought in to try to resolve the dispute.

GMB will ballot staff over a 3.17 per cent pay offer covering around 700 workers at the site.

The award would see wages rise to just 20p above the minimum wage following years of below-inflation pay awards, according to the union.

Latest figures showed the company reported a 1.3 per cent increase in revenue to £253.4 million, boosted by a 21 per cent rise in full price sales.

The company’s earnings also rose from £16.2m to £22.3m in the first quarter.

The retailer raked in £9.2m in pre-tax profits compared with the previous year’s losses of £12.7m.

GMB regional officer Eddie Gaudie said: “Warehouse staff work just as hard as supervisors and should receive comparable awards.

“It really sticks in our members’ throats when they’re struggling to manage on their pay packets, only to see supervisors pick up a bonus and a pay rise.

“It’s up to our members now as to whether they will accept Matalan’s latest offering. If not, strike action could be on the cards.”

A spokeswoman for Matalan said the offer is “above standard cost of living increases for the region and are also above rates of inflation.”

She added: “We are surprised and disappointed by the GMB’s decision to criticise this pay offer to staff.

“We greatly value all our staff and have worked very hard to make an offer that is fair and appealing in relation to other comparable businesses in the region.

“We therefore sincerely hope that the minority of our workforce in Knowsley who are members of the union will approve it.”

The result of the ballot is expected on Monday.