Brands including Amazon and PepsiCo could face challenges sourcing packaging after workers at key supplier DS Smith voted for strike action.
Workers at DS Smith, which provides packaging for Amazon, PepsiCo, Brewdog and KP Snacks, voted to strike in a row over pay, threatening packaging supplies ahead of Black Friday.
The GMB union said: “Amazon faces Black Friday shortages.”
Workers in five sites – Louth in Lincolnshire, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Clay Cross in Derbyshire, Devizes in Wiltshire, and Livingston in Scotland could take strike action at the end of the month.
Eamon O’Hearn, national officer at GMB Union, said: “A strike at DS Smith could have serious implications across a range of household names – not least Amazon which gets packaging from the company.
“It turns out that the company was hugely profitable during the pandemic, now they need to company to step up and help them through the cost of living crisis.
“DS Smith can afford to do better – they need to table a serious offer that respects the contribution of our members, to nip this industrial action in the bud.”
The move comes after strikes earlier in the year at seven Finnish paper mills disrupted packaging supply chains across Europe. Coupled with soaring energy and raw material costs, this resulted in three month delays to packaging production.
A DS Smith spokesperson said the latest strike came at a “crucial time for all of our customers”.
“Negotiations are ongoing with unions and we aim to find a solution that works for everybody. We take our customers’ needs extremely seriously and we have robust contingency plans in place to deliver the best possible service.”
Amazon disputed the claims the strikes would impact Black Friday orders, with a spokesperson saying: “We don’t anticipate a shortage and look forward to fulfilling customer orders on Black Friday.”
In September Lidl bought a paper mill to secure packaging supplies.
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.