Workers at Wigan-based delivery giant enter week 10 of industrial action
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Unite strikers were joined by the RMT, CWU, Unison, Bolton and Wigan Trades Councils, along with other Unite workers in a show of solidarity with trade unionists who are on an all-out industrial which they say is to “end low pay” at the Martland Mill-based distribution centre.
The workforce, which includes drivers, warehouse operatives and customer care centre workers, had previously been offered a five per cent salary increase, which, with the real rate of inflation (RPI) standing at 12.3 per cent, is a substantial real terms pay cut.
A spokesperson from Wigan Trades Council said: “The turnout this morning was tremendous, considering we are in the middle of a seasonal holiday.
"The range of unions involved was impressive, and there was a definite feeling of resilience on the picket line.
“The government’s intention to sustain low pay in the public sector is sending a message through to firms like Arrow XL to intimidate and bully their workers in the private sector to accept poverty wages.
"The firm have already sacked two pickets and a brazier they used for heating went missing.
“Arrow XL workers are in the forefront of combatting low pay in Wigan.
"Our town is one of the poorest in the country with wage rates well below the national average.
"Minimum pay levels along with zero-hour contracts are the norm in many workplaces and only with trade union organisation can we turn this situation around.
“Solidarity is vital in winning disputes, and today’s event shows that Wigan is not short of people willing to stand alongside others to improve the quality of our working lives.
“In the months to come, thousands of Wigan’s trade unionists will be striking, and attending picket lines.
"Every one will need supporting and every one deserves our support.”
Ian McCluskie, regional officer for Unite the Union said: “The company fail to realise they must get round the table with us.
"We intend to carry on as long as we need to so the sooner they get round the table the better.”
ArrowXL has previously expressed “disappointment” at the action, says contingency plans are being put in place and pau is being reviewed again in January.