AROUND 1,800 union members at two Wilko distribution centres, including one in Magor, will go on strike next month over changes to working rotas.

The GMB union previously described the new rotas, which include compulsory weekend shifts, as "brutal".

The union said it had "done everything" to renegotiate these rotas, while Wilko said it didn't believe industrial action was "in anyone’s best interests" and encouraged GMB to call off the strike.

Earlier this month, GMB confirmed a strike would go ahead after its members at the Wilko distribution centres in Magor and Worksop voted 84 per cent in favour of industrial action.

Earlier today the union announced 48 hours of industrial action would take place at both centres from 6am on Friday, October 11 until 5.59am the following day, and again from 6am on Monday, October 14 until 5.59am the following day.

Gary Carter, national officer for GMB, said: “It is sad that it has come to this. We have done everything we can to try to negotiate a reduction in the amount of weekend working, but the offer from management is not acceptable.

“Wilko has always considered itself a family company – yet they’re forcing contracts on staff that will seriously impose on family time and workers’ wellbeing.

“GMB members will stand together and show Wilko management how strongly we feel about these harsh new contracts.”

In a statement, a Wilko spokesman said the firm had "robust plans in place" to allow shopping to continue as normal.

“We’re the last of the major retailers to introduce regular weekend working in our distribution centres as a result of customer demand for seven days a week shopping," he said.

“We want to support our team members in responding to the 24/7 reality of retailing today, while also helping them to spend as much time as possible with their families.

“We’ve already given 400 team members an additional weekend off before our peak trading period begins, and in a recent meeting with the union, we’ve also offered to guarantee two-in-three weekends off outside of peak from January 2020 onwards.

“We don’t believe industrial action is in anyone’s best interests at this challenging time for the high street and retail in general.

"We have always believed the right way to resolve any differences is through listening, talking and working things through together and we encourage the GMB to call off their the strike and join us in finding a way forward which works for both our customers and their members.”