Amazon could face a shortage of much-needed cardboard boxes on Black Friday as staff as one of its suppliers go on strike.

The e-commerce giant is one of several companies likely to suffer due to the strike at DS Smith.

Staff voted to strike before the end of November in a row over pay.

The busy Black Friday and festive shopping periods are coming up and the strike is likely to cause major disruption.

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Nearly 700 GMB union members at DS Smith, which manufactures corrugated packaging for brands such as Diageo, McVitie’s biscuits, and brewer BrewDog, as well as Amazon, may go on strike before the end of November.

Many retailers run promotions around Black Friday, the final Friday in November, which falls on the 25th of this year.

In total, 93 percent of GMB members at DS Smith voted in favour of a strike following the company’s pay offer, which the union is calling a “real terms pay cut”.

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Inflation in the UK rose back above 10 percent in September, the highest level in 40 years, according to official figures.

DS Smith has offered workers a three percent pay rise along with a consolidated payment for the coming year of £760.

Workers at five of its sites – Louth, Lincolnshire; Featherstone in Yorkshire; Clay Cross in Derbyshire; Devizes in Wiltshire and Livingston in Scotland – could take part in a strike.

Eamon O’Hearn, national secretary at GMB, said DS Smith staff worked throughout the pandemic and called on the company to improve its pay offer.

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O’Hearn said, “A strike at DS Smith could have serious implications across a range of household names – not least Amazon which gets packaging from the company,”.

“DS Smith can afford to do better – they need to table a serious offer that respects the contribution of our members, to nip this industrial action in the bud.”

The company, which also makes packaging for McCoy’s crisps maker KP Snacks and food and drinks producer PepsiCo, said it was “disappointed” by the vote for strike action “, particularly at a crucial time for all of our customers”.

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A spokesperson for DS Smith said: “Negotiations are ongoing with unions and we aim to find a solution that works for everybody. We take our customers’ needs extremely seriously and we have robust contingency plans in place to deliver the best possible service.”

Customers who begin their Christmas shopping around Black Friday may also experience delays in receiving online purchases after Royal Mail workers announced two 48-hour strikes in late November.

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The new strike came after the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which represents Royal Mail employees, rejected the company’s latest pay offer and change programme, calling it a “declaration of war on posties.”

Royal Mail and the CWU union agreed on Friday to hold a week of “intensive talks” from Monday, November 7 to Tuesday, November 15, in an attempt to resolve the pay and change dispute.

Source: The Guardian

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