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GSK pay dispute escalates [print version]

Salbutamol, the active ingredient of Ventolin, one of GSK's top selling medicines, was developed at its Ware Laboratory in the 1960s. Photo Workers.

Workers at pharmaceutical giant GSK are to escalate their strike action in a dispute over pay. Around 750 workers at sites across Britain have turned down a below inflation pay offer even though the company admits it can afford to pay more.

The workers, members of Unite, undertake a wide variety of roles and include engineers, process technicians, laboratory analysts, warehouse workers and fire officers. They refused an offer of 6 per cent and a lump sum of £1,300 – substantially below the current level of inflation.

GSK, previously known as GlaxoSmithKline, is a wealthy and profitable company. Its latest financial results show an operating profit of £8.15 billion last year, 26 per cent up on the previous year. The union says the cost of resolving its pay claim would be just 0.05 per cent of the company’s profits.

• A longer version of this article is available on the web at www.cpbml.org.uk