Union backs strike ac­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

News­pa­per de­liv­er­ies could be hit as dis­tri­bu­tion staff go on strike over a pay dis­pute.

At least 300 staff at Men­zies Dis­tri­bu­tion will take in­dus­trial ac­tion fol­low­ing a pay of­fer which Unite, the coun­try’s largest union, de­scribes as “piti­ful”.

Men­zies, which has dis­tri­bu­tion de­pots on the Or­bital Park in Ash­ford and at the Lark­field Trad­ing Es­tate, near Maid­stone, de­liv­ers na­tional and lo­cal news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines.

In a state­ment re­leased by Unite on Thursday last week, the union said the pay of­fer of £7.25 an hour is only 5p above the new na­tional liv­ing wage of £7.20 and dou­ble time and bank hol­i­day pay have been wiped out.

Unite mem­bers voted with 86% in favour of strike ac­tion be­fore the end of the month.

Men­zies serves 29,500 re­tail cus­tomers and de­liv­ers 7.4 mil­lion copies of 630 news­pa­pers and 3,300 mag­a­zines, in­clud­ing KM Group ti­tles. Its drivers make 207,000 de­liv­er­ies a week. A Men­zies spokesman said: “We are en­gaged in fur­ther dis­cus­sions with the union, and are op­ti­mistic a res­o­lu­tion can be achieved.”

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