Union calls for public to respect the striking workers’ picket line in dispute over poverty pay
Unite warns that it will pursue any potential breach of employee’s right to take lawful strike action with Employment Agency Inspectorate
April 8th: Davy McMurray, Unite officer for staff in SP Graham bookmakers confirmed that industrial action was set to proceed across all Northern Ireland outlets tomorrow on Grand National Day (Saturday April 9th):
“Counter staff working in SP Graham outlets across Northern Ireland will be taking strike action tomorrow to demand a Living Wage from their employer.
“They are reporting strong support from punters, who agree that they deserve a decent rate of pay. We are calling on the wider public to respect the workers’ strike action and to refuse to cross picket lines.
“Management has sought to downplay the impact of strike action but we are aware that they are seeking to undermine the strike through employing strike-breaking ‘scab’ labour. We are putting SP Graham on-notice that Unite will bring forward a requisite complaint to the Employment Agency Inspectorate; we will use the full rigours of the law to defend our members’ rights.
“This is a multi-million pound sector who can easily afford an uplift in wages: the only direct costs this company has are for the betting dockets.
“Companies across Northern Ireland will benefit from a 50% increase in the employers’ NIC allowance this year as well as potentially a 7.5% reduction in corporation tax in the near future. The intent of these policies is that they will pass on that benefit through higher pay and so stimulate consumption in the wider economy. What’s more, while some employers claim they can’t afford to pay a Living Wage today, they will have to pay even higher rates in the coming years as the Government continues to increase the legal minimum.
“We are calling on SP Graham management to return with a realistic pay increase for their workers – one that reflects their contribution to business profits. It is not too late, even at this late stage, to avert this unnecessary and damaging strike”, Mr McMurray concluded.