Britain’s GMB Trade Union Plans Holiday Strike at Yoox Net-a-porter Depot

STRIKING OUT: Strikes have plagued the U.K. for more than a year, with doctors, nurses, teachers, postal workers, train and London Underground drivers demanding more pay and better conditions from employers and the government.

Now the pickers, packers and distributors of luxury fashion are threatening to walk out during the pre-holiday shopping rush.

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On Monday, Britain’s GMB union for retail and distribution said it is planning 22 days of strike action at Yoox Net-a-porter’s Charlton depot in southeast London.

GMB said members are in dispute with their employer about pay, with current proposals leaving them “without a pay raise for the first six months of the financial year.”

The union said hundreds of workers are set to take action during November and December, which will affect the distribution of online purchases in the run-up to Christmas.

Mick Butler, GMB regional organizer, said “none of [YNAP’s] operations would be possible without our members working hard to ensure these online purchases get to their destinations on time. Given how much money the company makes, it’s only fair that a few crumbs from the table get sent to the people generating this income.

“If Yoox Net-a-porter don’t want their operations halted at what is undoubtedly their busiest time of year, GMB are prepared to meet at any time to discuss a decent pay rise for our members,” Butler added.

YNAP said: “We are aware of the current challenges posed by the rising cost of living, and we have already taken proactive steps to address this issue by increasing our colleagues’ compensation over the past year. We continue to hold discussions with our colleagues and their representatives, with the aim of finding a swift resolution.”

Over the past year industry sources said YNAP has already awarded a pay increase of 8 percent to its London depot workers and has since increased that offer above the level of its competitors.

The company is also understood to match the London Living Wage, an independently calculated hourly rate of pay based on the cost of living. The wage is 11.95 pounds an hour, compared with the national living wage of 9.50 pounds an hour.

YNAP is understood to have detailed plans in place to serve customers and minimize any potential disruption.

The announcement of the strike coincided with the European Union’s approval of Richemont’s deal to sell a majority stake in YNAP to Farfetch and Alabbar. Going forward, the plan is for Farfetch to increase its stake in YNAP, and create a neutral, global online platform for fashion and luxury.

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