On the Picket Line

Workers strike UK warehouse for better pay, win solidarity

By Andrés Mendoza
and Tony Hunt
February 7, 2022

WORKSOP, England — “We want a wage that allows us to pay our bills, feed and take care of our families and live,” Kelly Donnelly, a striker at the Wincanton warehouse, told the Militant  on the spirited picket line here Jan. 14. 

At the beginning of the year some 450 Unite members struck the plant, which supplies products for the home goods chain B&Q. They had rejected a below inflation 4% pay offer and organized weeklong work stoppages previously. 

“The support we’ve been getting has been great,” said Donnelly, the first woman at the site to operate a forklift reach truck. As a result of the strike, “I’ve gotten to know other workmates and the kind of problems they face.” 

“Kingfisher, the company that owns B&Q, made huge profits last year during the pandemic,” pointed out Paddy McGrath, senior Unite steward at the warehouse. 

Fellow Unite members — scaffolders who are on strike at Actavo at the British Steel plant in Scunthorpe — visited the warehouse workers’ picket Jan. 12. “It’s very important we support each other,” scaffolder Dave Birchall said in a video posted online. “If we all stand together we can achieve anything we want.” 

The North Nottinghamshire branch of Unite also donated 5,000 pounds ($6,780) to the Wincanton workers’ strike fund.