Strikes putting jobs at risk says bookmakers chain

Sean Graham Bookmakers, Mandeville St. INPT11-213.
Sean Graham Bookmakers, Mandeville St. INPT11-213.

Both sides in the stand-off between workers and management of SP Graham’s bookies reported success after last Saturday’s strike action.

On Grand National day workers reported that punters were turning away from the bookies in droves.

However, this was disputed by SP Graham, which has outlets in portadown and Lurgan. The firm added that continued action could jeopardise jobs.

Davy McMurray, Unite officer said: “This was an undeniably successful strike with most outlets only eventually opening only to remain exceptionally quiet on what should have been the busiest day of the year. We are calling on the Grahams to intervene directly and commence negotiations. We wish to end this dispute but can only do so when our members receive a decent pay offer.”

SP Graham said: “Grand National always has its challenges. The decision of some staff to strike meant front line reorganisation but we were still able to deploy staff and every shop was open for business.

“We anticipated some customers would not cross the picket lines which came and went as Unite moved striking staff from shop to shop within Belfast.

“We experienced no picket lines in any other area.

“However, many customers placed their National bets the day before so as not to offend staff on Saturday and this also reduced the impact of industrial action.

“The continuation by Unite to orchestrate a strategy to turn away customers from our doors will potentially result in shop closures and job losses.

“Our pay proposal is the maximum we can offer in order to ensure we have a sustainable and competitive business as well as protect betting shop jobs.

“Unite have appeal for the intervention of the Graham family.

“As active members of the business, everyone has rolled up their sleeves to support front line staff wishing to stay in work.

“As it stands 77% of staff would like to accept the 10.24 per cent two year pay deal.”