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Amazon UK facing Black Friday box shortages as DS Smith workers strike


Several retailers are facing possible cardboard box shortages during the busy Black Friday shopping period after workers at packaging company DS Smith voted to go on strike.

According to reports in The Guardian, Amazon, drinks company Diageo, biscuit maker McVitie’s and brewer BrewDog, may have to deal with corrugated packaging shortages as nearly 700 members of the GMB union working at DS Smith take industrial action.

As part of a pay dispute workers could walk out in November, following 93% of GMB members at DS Smith voted in favour of a strike.

DS Smith had offered workers a 3% pay rise along with a consolidated payment for the coming year of £760, the union called this pay offer a “real terms pay cut”.

Workers at five of its sites including Louth, Lincolnshire; Featherstone in Yorkshire; Clay Cross in Derbyshire; Devizes in Wiltshire and Livingston in Scotland could take part in a strike.

Eamon O’Hearn, national secretary at GMB, said DS Smith staff worked throughout the pandemic, and called on the company to improve its pay offer.

“A strike at DS Smith could have serious implications across a range of household names – not least Amazon which gets packaging from the company. DS Smith can afford to do better – they need to table a serious offer that respects the contribution of our members, to nip this industrial action in the bud.”

DS Smith responded calling the industrial action disappointing, “particularly at a crucial time for all of our customers.”

A spokesperson for DS Smith, said: “Negotiations are ongoing with unions and we aim to find a solution that works for everybody. We take our customers’ needs extremely seriously and we have robust contingency plans in place to deliver the best possible service.”

Amazon told The Guardian that it was not currently expecting a packaging shortage.

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