Wincanton has repeated its insistence that the pay offer to staff at B&Q’s distribution warehouse in Worksop was fair and competitive, after workers said they were escalating previous industrial action to all-out strikes.

The home improvement retailer was facing disruption on multiple fronts following an announcement by the Unite union that GXO HGV drivers working for B&Q in Cambuslang, Scotland and Doncaster were also considering strike action, in response to what it described as a below inflation pay offer.

The union claimed Wincanton workers in Worksop were paid so little that some had been forced to use foodbanks and rely on emergency loans.

It said that in 2021, the local Unite branch had to set up a hardship fund to help struggling staff and it branded the logistics company’s salaries as “poverty pay”.

In November, the Worksop staff began industrial action, which included overtime bans followed by seven days of strikes.

But the union said this would now be escalated to continuous strike action, unless the dispute was resolved.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, added: “Meanwhile, GXO HGV drivers on the B&Q contract are expected to shoulder de-facto wage cuts in the form of a below inflation pay offer.

“Extremely profitable B&Q has a responsibility to ensure that the workers in its supply chain are paid a reasonable wage.

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“The fact that this is not the case is now coming back to bite them.

“Unite fights to defend the jobs, pay and conditions of our members.

“We make no apology for demanding that B&Q step in and get its supply chain partners, whose profits are skyrocketing off the backs of Unite members, to table acceptable pay offers.”

Graham said GXO’s 2020 profits increased by 20% and that the pay of its highest paid directors soared by 100% over the same period.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said the current industrial action among Wincanton workers in Worksop was already causing significant delivery backlogs to B&Q stores: “This will only get worse as the strike continues,” he said.

However, Wincanton maintained that its offer to staff was fair: “We value the vital work our colleagues carry out every day and the offer we have put forward is fair and competitive,” said a spokeswoman.

“We remain committed to finding a resolution that satisfies all parties.”

A GXO spokesman said: “We are committed to being an employer of choice for our employees and our customers. Discussions are ongoing in order to reach agreement with all parties involved.”