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Matalan staff walk out in first strike against a ‘frankly insulting’ pay offer

HUNDREDS of workers at a Matalan distribution centre walked off the job today in the first in a series of strikes against a “frankly insulting” pay offer.

More than 500 GMB members walked out of the retail giant’s key warehouse in Knowsley, Merseyside, at 2pm.

They were joined by various supporters from Liverpool Momentum, the GMB and Knowsley Trades Council.

The warehouse stocks and distributes e-commerce and store supplies across the north of England and Scotland.

It is the first 24-hour action over a management pay offer, with a series of one-day strikes set to take place over the next five weeks.

The workers voted to take action after the company’s management offered a pay deal which would see some employees receive a 1.5 per cent pay rise.

It was argued that in real terms, this was equivalent to a pay cut.

Matalan said the offer applies to around a quarter of the workers at the site and who work on weekend shifts.

However, the Star understands that other issues such as bullying and a toxic workplace culture were to blame for the confrontation between workers and management.

A worker, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the Star: “This sort of situation isn’t just about the money — it has come about because workers are sick to the back teeth of how they’re treated, to be honest with you.”

GMB regional organiser Stephen Boden said: “This industrial action is a result of Matalan management making a frankly insulting pay offer.

“How can they expect hard-working staff to accept a real-terms pay cut?

“But it’s not too late for management to listen to workers and get back round the table with us to work out a fair deal.”

A spokesperson for Matalan said: “We are deeply disappointed that even a small portion of union members voted in favour of industrial action.

“Especially given this went against the previous full recommendation of their own union, following over five months of negotiations.

“We will do everything possible to minimise disruption to our colleagues and customers.”

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