With union Unite declaring strike action across all SP Graham outlets on Saturday, 9th April, Grand National Day, management claim none of the outlets in Lurgan or Portadown will be affected.
Chris Deery, General Manager for SP Graham said: “Sean Graham shops will be open for business on Grand National day even though there will be strike action over pay by some staff. The strike action has impacted a small number of shops in Belfast, however, Lurgan and Portadown and all other shops in Northern Ireland will be unaffected. The majority of staff wish to accept the pay offer. Unite are clearly overplaying the affect of strike action.
However, the union said it had been overwhelmed with support offered to staff from punters.
Davy McMurray, Unite officer said: “Completed petitions by punters promising to boycott the employer have been coming in to our offices all week ahead of the planned strike.
“SP Graham Ltd is a highly successful bookmaker. It can well afford to pay their workers decently. The current pay offer leaves workers just nine pence an hour above the bare legal minimum and was overwhelmingly rejected by the workforce. It’s time management got serious about sharing their business’ success with their workforce”, Mr McMurray concluded.
However Mr Deery said: “Our offer is £7.29, more than the new £7.20 National Living Wage rate and it has been well reported that even the £7.20 is likely to cause job losses across many business. The rate on offer equates to a 10.24% increase overall yet Unite would have it as almost a “paid by” Government increase. We along with many other employers have to find that increase.
“We cannot improve our offer as to do so would jeopardise jobs and force shop closures. Unite only need to look at Ladbrokes in Ireland which took it’s business into Examinership and closed upwards of 60 shops and there have been significantly more closures by other bookmaker chains.”