Wilko facing industrial action threat over sick pay dispute

Wilko facing industrial action threat
Many Wilko workers are on the minimum wage, low hours and have no entitlement to statutory sick pay which will leave them with no income if they become ill, the GMB said.
// Wilko faces industrial action threat as 75% unionised staff vote in favour of it
// Retailer accused of cutting workers’ sick pay entitlement amid the Covid-19 pandemic
// Wilko says is has an enhanced sick pay policy & would continue to support staff most in need

Wilko is facing possible industrial action from unionised staff members over a dispute over sick pay.

GMB, the union representing staff, said a consultative ballot among thousands of its members showed a near 9-1 vote in favour of taking action, on a turnout of 75 per cent.

Another ballot would have to be held before any action is taken, but the union warned that strikes were “inevitable” unless the row is resolved.


GMB has accused the retailer of cutting workers’ sick pay entitlement at a time when staff have worked to keep stores open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many workers are on the minimum wage, low hours and have no entitlement to statutory sick pay which will leave them with no income if they become ill, the GMB said.

“Wilko keyworkers are furious, and no wonder,” GMB national officer Roger Jenkins said.

“They’ve worked through the pandemic, risking themselves and their families, dealing with a lack of social distancing, increased threats and abuse from customers.

“Now bosses have told them they’re slashing their sick pay entitlement, which management are keeping theirs.

“If Wilko will not negotiate then strike action is now inevitable.”

Wilko said it was “disappointed” by the ballot result and argued that industrial action would not be ideal for anyone and it has an “enhanced” sick pay policy.

“Industrial action isn’t in anyone’s best interest at this challenging time for both retail in general and the high street,” a spokesman for the retailer said.

“We believe the right way to resolve any differences for the benefit of our customers and team members is through listening, talking and working things through together.

“We operate an enhanced company sick pay policy, and we’ll continue to support those team members most in need, including anyone quarantining or absent with a case of coronavirus, anyone with long-term sickness and the extremely vulnerable. This will be over and above statutory sick pay.

“Early last year, we considered some necessary changes to our policy designed to bring us more into line with other retailers. We soon put these on hold to support our team members whilst we concentrated on keeping our stores open as an essential retailer to provide our customers with access to the household and hardware items they need for their families.

“We’ve been working in collaboration with the GMB to try and tackle non-coronavirus absence.

“At the heart of these conversations was our shared strong desire to protect both Wilko team members and the future of Wilko so we can continue to serve customers, run a successful business, employ people, look after team members who need our help and offer an attractive benefits package compared to other retailers.”

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  1. I work at Wilko and I am utterly appalled by what they have become in recent years. They are not the family run company they once were. Lisa Wilkinson is just a figurehead now. As far as the sickness policy goes, Wilko should attempt to address those few staff members that abuse this benefit, rather than penalise everyone with this blanket policy. We have worked throughout this pandemic because Wilko lobbied to stay open. They would not furlough staff that asked, till screens are absolutely inadequate and offer zero protection and we suffer daily abuse and threats from customers. Covid has not made people behave in a nicer manner. We are paid minimum wage and we get 20% discount. That’s it. Wilko contine to churn out the same garbage about being in line with other retailers. How about trying to be BETTER than other retailers. This sick pay change has gone ahead while head office staff work safely at home, no management are included in the change either but Wilko CAN afford to give £1000 plus bonuses to hundreds of managers and Teslas to area managers.
    Its no wonder that morale is at rock bottom.
    Looks like striking is the only option.

  2. My sister worked for wilko for many years, but she ended up having two lots of sick leave in the space of 12 months. She had doctors note for both occasions and the 2nd incident she even ended up in hospital, but the company threatened to put her through a disciplinary for multiple absences as that’s their current “enhanced sick” policy. She left the company (along with many others as I’ve heard) due to this and other bullying issues from higher management and a general lack of support for frontline staff. It’s a disgrace.


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