Drugmaker GSK faces strike over ‘derisory’ pay offer

Drugmaker GSK faces strike over ‘derisory’ pay offer

Drugmaker GSK faces strike over ‘derisory’ pay offer

(Image: Alarabiya News)

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Hundreds of GlaxoSmithKline employees in the United Kingdom are ready to strike over a “derisory” salary offer that is much below the rate of inflation, according to a union.

 

GSK has been accused of “colossal corporate greed” by Unite national secretary Sharon Graham over an effective salary decrease in real terms at a time when Britain is experiencing its greatest inflation in 30 years.

GSK said it was “disappointed that the Unite union has taken the decision to strike”, adding that the British group “remains committed to… a solution”.

 

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It said in a statement: “We recognize the impact inflation rates are having on people around the country and are strongly committed to supporting the skilled people who work in GSK manufacturing.”

 

About 500 Unite members, or around 13 percent of GSK’s UK manufacturing workforce, voted to strike, the drugs group said. GSK said it had offered a four-percent increase in base salary plus one-off awards.

 

Unite said the pay offer was for 2.75 percent.

 

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The official annual inflation rate in Britain stands at seven percent — and is seen hitting double figures by the end of 2022 — already sparking widespread concerns over a cost-of-living crisis as food and energy costs rocket.

 

GSK’s net profit came in at £4.4 billion ($5.7 billion) last year, while revenues topped £34 billion.

 

“Never before have our members at GSK voted for strike action — their anger is a clear response to the company’s colossal corporate greed,” said Unite’s Graham.

 

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She added that GSK “expects its workforce to swallow a pay cut in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis”.

 

It comes as chief executive Emma Walmsley seeks to reshape GSK after facing fierce investor criticism over the company’s delay in producing Covid jabs and treatments.

 

In the UK transport sector, the RMT union on Wednesday said more than 40,000 railway workers were to be balloted for strike action in disputes over jobs and pay.

Workers on London’s underground Tube railway network have recently gone on strike.

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