Unite, the country’s largest union, is planning an industrial action ballot of its drivers in a dispute with landscape products and natural paving group Marshalls which could cause severe disruption.
The two biggest customers of Marshalls are Travis Perkins with 1,900 outlets and Jewson with more than 600 branches, which face possible disruptions to supplies.
The dispute with Marshalls is about the disparity in overtime payments for the drivers that deliver to customers from 14 manufacturing sites across the UK – the drivers receive time and a third for overtime worked, while manufacturing employees get time and a half.
The overtime dispute is given extra piquancy by the fact the company’s chief executive Martin Coffey received an 87 per cent increase in his remuneration package last year, taking it to over £2 million a year.
Unite national officer for building trades, John Allott said: “We are preparing to hold an industrial action ballot on the inequality in overtime rates between the drivers and the manufacturing workforce.
“We are calling for fairness on this issue, especially given the massive hike in Martin Coffey’s executive pay.
“The two biggest customers of Marshalls - Travis Perkins and Jewson - will be severely hit, with a big ripple effect on their own customers, if strike action goes ahead.
“We call on the company to sit down and negotiate on the issue of our members’ overtime pay, so we can reach a fair settlement.”
The company was founded by Solomon Marshall in the late 1800s and he registered S. Marshalls & Sons Ltd in 1904 after becoming aware a living could be made from the quarrying business after working as a foreman at Pond Quarry, Brighouse.
He acquired his first land in 1910 at Southowram and the site at West Lane is still in use today.
The company supplies the construction, home improvement and landscape markets and has grown to run sites across the UK and now has a workfoce of aroundr 2,000.