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Matalan strike suspended after bosses offer new pay deal

A long-running Matalan strike has been called off after bosses made GMB members a new pay offer.

More than 500 workers at Matalan’s Northern Distribution Centre based in Knowsley, Merseyside, had been on strike after management made a pay offer which GMB said amounted to a “real terms pay cut”.

The industrial action has been going on since August, with some strikers erecting tents outside the warehouse. However, GMB said talks this week produced a new deal, which members will vote on this weekend.

A result is expected on Monday.

A joint GMB and Matalan statement read: “Employees and their welfare has always been the focus and GMB and Matalan have been working hard together to resolve the issue.

“After extensive negotiations from both sides, Matalan and GMB are pleased to announce t a fully recommended deal has been brokered, which will be put to ballot this weekend.”

It continued: “GMB and Matalan will continue every effort to bring this dispute to a resolution so the employees can return to work.”

The news comes after the fashion retailer saw its total revenue increase to £292m in the Q2 2019, despite the weather and political and economic uncertainty “eroding the full price sales potential of the season”.

It said that during the 14 weeks ended 31 August 2019, ongoing uncertainty “weighed heavily” on consumer confidence and spending, which resulted in a “significant” margin investment being required to sell through surplus stocks.

In July the retailer outlined the challenges that Matalan and the wider market faced, in what it said has been an “extremely tough trading environment”.

Jason Hargreaves, chief executive officer of Matalan, said at the time: “Despite current trading conditions, we are making good progress in a number of strategic areas. These include opening fantastic new stores, refurbishing our existing estate, and improving the customer journey in our online channel which delivered underlying growth of over 25%.”

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