ArrowXL has defended renewed accusations from a section of its workforce that it is offering 'poverty pay rates' and insisted ongoing strikes had caused minimal disruption.
The 350 workers, who represent less than 30% of the overall workforce, undertake two-person deliveries for retailers including Amazon, Very Group, LG Electronics, Richer Sounds and Buy it Direct and have been taking strike action every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday since Monday 24 October.
Unite members employed by the delivery firm are demonstrating outside the company’s head office in Liverpool today (22 November) in an attempt to ramp up their industrial action, which is due to last until Christmas.
They include warehouse workers, drivers and customer care staff, who Unite claims only receive the minimum wage of £9.50 an hour.
The union said this was 'in sharp contrast to the highest paid director at Arrow XL, who was paid £539,000 in 2021, an 84% pay rise on the previous year'.
However, an ArrowXL spokesperson said: "We have seen minimal disruption across the sites as a result of the strike action.
"We have already awarded all colleagues the increase that was offered during the negotiations that equates to an average of 8.25% (range of 5% to 35.6%) and made enhancements to sick, maternity, paternity and jury service pay as we are mindful of the cost of living challenges our people are facing.
"The pay award has already been backdated to 1 July 2022 and follows a series of increasing awards over the last few years of 3.5% in 2021 and 2.8% in 2020. Pay will be reviewed again in less than two months’ time in January 2023.
"We are extremely disappointed to be in this situation as we believe our pay offer to be fair, particularly in the light of our significantly increased operating costs and the need to keep home delivery charges reasonable for consumers. We would like to express our utmost thanks and appreciation to all colleagues who continue to attend work as normal, we are very grateful for their ongoing support."
Responding, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The workers at Arrow can’t and won’t accept poverty pay rates any longer. It appears that the company’s management is trying to pretend the dispute is not happening, which is why Unite is bringing its workers to its door.
“Arrow’s ultimate owners are billionaires and they should be shocked that one of their companies is paying its workers so poorly.
“Unite is the union which always puts the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first and our members at Arrow will receive the union’s unflinching support.”
Added Unite national officer Adrian Jones: “The strike action is playing havoc with the delivery schedules of Arrow’s clients and this is only going to get worse as Christmas approaches and demand increases. This dispute is entirely of Arrow’s own making. It has had many opportunities to resolve the dispute but has declined to do so.”