Retailers are facing potential service disruption after union members at Menzies depots around the country voted to take industrial action on two separate days.
The strikes are due to take place overnight on Friday 23 September and again on Monday 26 September, with an overtime ban and two stoppages, affecting Saturday and Tuesday deliveries.
Menzies said it has plans in place and doesn’t believe sales will be seriously affected.
“Menzies Distribution has robust contingency plans in the event that any industrial action by the union goes ahead and we remain confident no disruption to services will be experienced by retailers or publishers,” said a spokesman.
But union Unite and Menzies depot staff, one of whom spoke to Retail Newsagent, believe distribution will be affected.
“They’re going to flood the place with agency and contract workers, most of them don’t give a damn. It’s becoming a major problem. As long as they get the papers out, they won’t worry about the accuracy of the deliveries or what time people get them,” said the worker, who asked not to be named.
Unite, whose members voted for the action, expects 300 out of 2,800 staff to down tools.
“The strikes will cause severe disruption to the distribution of newspapers and magazines, particularly in Scotland and the south east of England,” said Ian Tonks, Unite national officer.
The dispute is over a pay award and associated changes to pay structure.
Retailers were hoping Menzies’ contingency plans would help. Naresh Gajri, of Cranhill Premier, Glasgow, said: “It’s essential we get the papers on time, as we have HND rounds. It could be a problem, but 95% of the time, the service is good.”
NFRN head of news and magazines Brian Murphy said: “The NFRN has been keeping members advised of the two strikes and will be monitoring developments to ensure our members are able to service their customers’ needs.”
Unite was still negotiating to cancel the strike as Retail Newsagent went to press.