Londonderry clerks’ strike dead cert for Champions Hurdle and Gold Cup Day

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A clerks’ strike over ‘poverty pay’ and staff safety at Sean Graham bookies, including shops in Londonderry and Claudy, will go ahead on Gold Cup Day during the Cheltenham Festival this week, according to the trade union, Unite.

Strike action, which will take place across all shops in the group, is also planned for Champion Hurdle Day tomorrow (Tuesday, March 15).

The union says workers have overwhelmingly rejected a management pay offer and that the strike remains set for Tuesday and Friday.

Davy McMurray, Unite officer with responsibility for the union’s membership in SP Graham Ltd confirmed his union’s members overwhelmingly rejected (voting with a majority of 88 per cent) a management pay offer which would leave them earning just nine pence more than the bare legal minimum: “As previously agreed, we convened a meeting of our members today to consider the final pay offer made by SP Graham Ltd at the Labour Relations Agency.

“At a very well attended meeting, with considerably more than half our members present, workers voted with a majority of 88% to reject the management pay offer. Strike action set for Tuesday and Friday will now proceed.

“The management offer would have left workers earning only nine pence per hour more than the lowest wage legally payable after April of this year.

“Our demand for SP Graham to become a Living Wage employer has been very positively received by the public. Our members have been buoyed by the support received from regular punters who say they will be boycotting the company in support of the staff. We are receiving membership applications from SP Graham Ltd offices across the whole of Ireland, north and south, reflecting the strength of feeling among staff over the issue of poverty pay.

“As a whole, the bookmaking industry is a multi-million pound sector whose huge profits are sustained by the efforts of workers expected to live on rock bottom wages. Our members in SP Graham Ltd are showing how, by standing together, workers can force employers to pay a Living Wage for all.

“Even at this late stage it is not too late for management to avert strike action, we call on SP Graham Ltd to commit to becoming a fully-accredited Living Wage employer.”