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Longest strike ends as Unite members accept Morrisons pay deal

Archive image of Unite members protesting outside the Morrisons store in Gibraltar earlier this year. Photo by Eyleen Gomez

Unite’s longest strike action in Gibraltar was brought to an end this week after workers at Morrisons accepted a pay deal reached by union negotiators and the company’s senior management.

Morrisons’ Unite members had been on strike since January 30 over a 20p an hour pay rise offer that was rejected by 100% of the union’s members at the store, who represent about a third of the workforce.

Morrisons’ workers in Gibraltar said it was wrong they were paid around £2 per hour less than their UK counterparts.

For months, they maintained a picket line outside the store to highlight their stance.

On Friday, Unite confirmed that its members had voted by 76% on a turnout of 97% to accept a pay proposal reached after several meetings between the union’s shop stewards and officials and Morrisons’ senior managers.

The pay increases vary dependent on job role but when fully implemented from October 2, 2023, will represent hikes ranging from 6.8% to 7.4%, with the largest increase of 7.4% applying to the Customer Assistant role.

These increases come at a time when IRP is expected to be 6.2%, Unite said.

The vote to accept will see the end of the industrial action and a managed return of members to the workplace from August 7.

Unite said an important element of the pay offer was that there were “no strings attached, no dilution of allowances, unsocial hours payments or conditions of employment”.

Christian Duo, Unite’s lead official for Morrisons, said: “It is very pleasing to have achieved a pay solution for Pay 2023 which is inflation plus and crucially has no strings attached.”

“This deal has arisen from the continuous industrial action taken by our Morrisons members, in what is the longest dispute in the history of Unite and its predecessor unions in Gibraltar.”

“I am confident that an inflation plus deal would not have been achieved had it not been for the industrial action.”

“This deal will help tackle the cost of living crisis for our membership working at the store, but clearly there is still much work to be done to achieve a living wage for our members in Morrisons.”

“I must pay tribute to our shop stewards and members for their commitment in taking such long-running industrial action and their continued attendance on the picket line.”

“We look forward to the implementation of the pay solution in full and the return of our striking members to the workplace.”

“The union also hopes that the end of the dispute, this negotiated outcome and the manner in which the negotiations were conducted with senior management will work towards rebuilding a constructive industrial relationship with the employer.”

Stuart Davies, Unite’s National Officer for Gibraltar, added: “Our shop stewards and members have shown great bravery to be on strike for such a long period of time and there is no doubt that this has been a major factor in achieving an inflation plus deal.”

“The leadership shown by the shop stewards and the negotiating team throughout the dispute has been impeccable and the resolve shown by our members on the picket line ensured that a successful outcome was achieved.”

“We look forward to working positively with Morrisons on the issue of pay and reward in advance of Pay 2024 and beyond.”

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