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Unite accuses Morrisons of ‘breaking strike action’ with UK employees

Archive image of Morrisons staff on strike over pay. Photo by Eyleen Gomez

After over two weeks on the picket line over a pay dispute, Unite the Union on Wednesday accused Morrisons of trying to “break the ongoing strike action” by flying staff members from the UK to work in its Gibraltar store.

Workers in Morrisons in Gibraltar have been on strike since January 30 in a dispute over a “measly” 2.4 per cent pay increase, which equates to 20p an hour, when according to Unite the retailer’s underlying profits for last year were a massive £828 million.

Workers in the UK earn £2 an hour more and this difference was a key reason for the dispute against the backdrop of a rise in the cost of living.

“The union has been made aware that Morrisons is re-deploying staff from the UK to replace striking employees,” Unite said in a statement.

“Not only are Morrisons flying in UK workers to replace the roles of striking workers locally, the mockery of the situation is that those employees being redeployed are working alongside local colleagues but are however being paid £2 an hour more.”

“There will also be significant costs associated with flying over and accommodating these UK colleagues.”

Unite also claimed that Morrisons was using “untrained staff” on the store’s deli counter.

“This move by Morrisons is not only putting these workers at risk but it is also contrary to safe working practices,” said the statement from Unite, which does not represent all of the store’s workers.

“These developments call into serious question the employer’s desire to resolve this dispute and once again Unite calls upon Morrisons to get back around the negotiating table.”

Morrisons, which had previously said it would implement the pay rise despite the union’s stance, has declined to make any further comments on the industrial action.

However, the Chronicle understands the company has deployed two senior salaried employees to provide relief to its Gibraltar management and ensure provision of key services to customers.

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