Lorry injures striking JJB workers

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The Independent Online

The stand-off between JJB Sports and its warehouse staff has taken a nasty turn after three striking workers were injured on the picket line by a truck delivering sports goods.

The GMB union said it would press for criminal charges against the driver of the lorry. The incident occurred as hundreds of staff protested at the company's Wigan warehouse in the third day of strikes over the past two weeks.

Two further strikes have been called by the GMB next Wednesday and Thursday, to protest for better pay and against an "unfair" bonus system.

GMB representatives said a truck was delivering Adidas sportswear to the warehouse, but as it left the site the driver allegedly gesticulated at the strikers and collided with the canopy of a GMB promotional trailer. The trailer was shunted into the pickets and three union members were injured. One person was taken to hospital with cuts and bruises.

The GMB has organised a "yellow card" protest by Wigan Football Club fans on Saturday when the team plays Charlton at the JJB Stadium. It will also hold protests at various JJB outlets in 10 cities across the UK this weekend, and has also roped in activist and singer Billy Bragg to play at a benefit concert for the strikers in Wigan in December. GMB members also protested outside the offices of the Employment Agencies Standards Inspectorate for failing to take action against agencies that it says have supplied staff to work in the warehouse during the strikes.

Regional officer Paul McCarthy said he was "completely dissatisfied" with the government body for not taking action. He said that the agencies had broken the law by supplying staff, adding that the inspectorate had agreed to talk to the three agencies next week.

David Speedie, who played football for Chelsea, Liverpool and Scotland, is the co-owner of one of three employment agencies that allegedly provided staff to do the work of about 270 members of the GMB general union. His agency, Light Year Recruitment, has denied that it supplied strikebreakers.