GSK’s UK workers vote for industrial action over ‘derisory’ pay offer

April 29, 2022

The pay offer dispute comes after GSK made significant profits in 2021 and gave its CEO a 17% pay rise.

The UK workers of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have voted for industrial action after the company offered them a 2.75% pay rise, an offer that would be a real-terms pay cut while the true rate of inflation remains at 9%.

The workers, members of the union Unite, voted 86% in favour of strike action after GSK made what the union has termed a “derisory” pay offer.

The pay offer has been especially problematic for workers in light of the £34.1 billion that the company made in profits last year from household medicines such as Sensodyne and Panadol.

In addition, GSK’s chief executive officer Emma Walmsley received a pay increase of 17% in 2021 to the tune of £8.2 million.

Sharon Graham, general secretary for Unite, said: “Never before have our members at GSK voted for strike action – their anger is a clear response to the company’s colossal corporate greed.

“GSK pocketed more than £34 billion in profits last year, yet expects its workforce to swallow a pay cut in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. As the strength of our members’ vote shows, this is simply not acceptable – I’m backing Unite members and their demand that GSK thinks again.”

Tony Devlin, national officer at Unite, commented: “Our members at GSK have delivered a huge mandate in favour of strike action.

“Even at this late stage Unite has offered GSK a small window in which to make an improved offer and to avoid the inevitable disruption to production that will occur if strike action takes place.”

GSK is preparing for a demerger later this year when it will spin off its consumer health business into a newly independent company, called Haleon. The listing of Haleon is expected in July 2022.

Last Updated: 29 April 2022