Trade union Unite says fleet of DS Smith LGV drivers in the UK will strike over pay from Nov. 20-27; Unite says strikes will risk Christmas deliveries for DS Smith clients, including Amazon, Direct Wines, Cadbury and Haribo

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November 15, 2023 (press release) –

DS Smith LGV drivers delivering cardboard to strike over real terms pay cut

A fleet of DS Smith LGV drivers delivering packaging cardboard and paper to major retailers, including Amazon, will strike over pay in the run up to Christmas, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Wednesday).

The strikes will compromise the ability of DS Smith clients, which also include Direct Wines, Cadbury and Haribo, to package items for mail order delivery to customers during the festive season.

The drivers, based in Launceston in Cornwall, Sittingbourne in Kent, Avonmouth in Bristol and Tuxford in Nottinghamshire, have rejected a five per cent pay offer. This is a significant real terms pay cut when the real of inflation, RPI, stood at 11.3 per cent when the pay rise should have been implemented in May.

The workers are employed by DS Smith Logistics, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of DS Smith PLC. According to its latest financial report DS Smith PLC brought in a pretax profit of £661 million during 2022/23 – a 71 per cent increase on the year before.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “DS Smith profits have shot up in the last year and the company is making an absolute fortune. Meanwhile, it’s LGV drivers are expected to put up and shut up with a significant real terms pay cut during a cost of living crisis. This is pure greed on the part of the company.

“Our members are absolutely right to strike for a fair pay rise and they will receive Unite’s full support.”

The drivers also provide delivery services for British Gypsum, VPK Packaging, Cepac, Board 24 and Sinat Portbury.

In addition, the drivers pick up recycling at distribution centres for Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Coop, ASOS, Biffa and Veolia. A large pileup of uncollected cardboard recycling will cause significant disruptions to the operations of these companies.  

An initial seven days of strike action will take place between 20 and 27 November, with strike action set to intensify throughout December if the dispute is not resolved.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “DS Smith can avoid strike action but for this to happen they must properly engage in negotiations and put forward an acceptable pay offer. DS Smith is certainly not short of profits and can fully afford to pay these workers a fair wage increase that takes into account rising living costs.”


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.


Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Instagram: unitetheunion

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham. 

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