Distribution staff at Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group are to stage a walk out today and Monday in support of a claim for the Real Living Wage.
The workers at Spectrum for Arcadia, a division of the DHL Logistics Supply Chain and members of the GMB union, voted in favour of the industrial action on Wednesday.
Most employees at the depot in Shirley near Birmingham are paid the national minimum wage of £7.20. But they are demanding the Real Living Wage – a voluntary amount decided by the Living Wage Foundation and set at £8.45 per hour.
Lidl and Ikea are among retailers that have hiked wages in order to meet this rate, which goes beyond the new national living wage of £7.50 per hour unveiled by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
“The way we have been treated by Arcadia is utterly shabby,” GMB organiser Dominic Hinks told City AM.
“On the ground, the company’s reps have been very good – but we are getting nothing from head office. We have even offered up counter proposals – but all we get in return is silence,” he said.
The union members also voted to strike on Cyber Monday.
Arcadia, which owns Topshop and Dorothy Perkins was understood to be very confident that the business would not suffer, however, because the 75 DHL staff proposing to strike form a minority of the distribution workforce.
Green is also under fire over the £571m pension deficit at collapsed department store retailer BHS.
Hopes of plugging the BHS pension fund before Christmas faded after Green’s advisers clashed with pension regulators earlier this week.
The former owner of BHS, which was placed into liquidation on Friday, claims he is owed £35m.