British and Irish trade union Unite announced last week that DS Smith LGV drivers would be striking from 20-27 November after a 5% pay rise offer was rejected.

DS Smith drivers deliver packaging cardboard and paper to its clients, which include major retailers including Direct Wines, Cadbury, Haribo and Amazon. The strike comes ahead of an expected increase in mail orders for companies during the busy festive season.

The striking drivers are based in Launceston in Cornwall, Sittingbourne in Kent, Avonmouth in Bristol and Tuxford in Nottinghamshire, and are employees of DS Smith Logistics, a subsidiary of DS Smith. In its full-year results published in June, the company reported a 75% increase in pre-tax profits in 2022-23, and adjusted operating profit growth of 35%.

According to GlobalData’s jobs analytics database, this growth has been reflected in the company’s hiring trends. There has been a notable overall increase in active roles at the company in the UK, particularly over the 2022-23 period.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “DS Smith profits have shot up in the last year and the company is making an absolute fortune. Meanwhile, its LGV drivers are expected to put up and shut up with a significant real terms pay cut during a cost of living crisis. This is pure greed on the part of the company.

“Our members are absolutely right to strike for a fair pay rise and they will receive Unite’s full support.”

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Unite also specified that strike action would intensify throughout December if the dispute was not resolved.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones added: “DS Smith can avoid strike action but for this to happen they must properly engage in negotiations and put forward an acceptable pay offer. DS Smith is certainly not short of profits and can fully afford to pay these workers a fair wage increase that takes into account rising living costs.”

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