Workers at a Derbyshire flooring firm have held the first of 20 days of strike action over pay, after rejecting a last minute offer
More than 70 production workers at Forbo Flooring UK Ltd in Ripley, staged the first of ten 48 hour strikes on Tuesday (October 15), after rejecting a new ‘unsatisfactory’ pay offer, the trade union Unite said.
The workers at the High Holborn Road site rejected a slightly improved two year package backdated to January 1 2019 and running to December 31 2020 by a large majority.
Unite said that a culture of staff being undervalued and disrespected hangs over the dispute.
The rejected package included in year one (2019) 2.2 per cent on basic salary and a bonus from January 1 2019; and a one-off additional two days holiday on 23 and 24 December 2019.
In year two (2020), there would have been a 2.1 per cent increase on basic salary and a bonus from 1 January 2019.
The first 48 hour strike will be followed by 48 hour strikes on October 22 and 29.
There will be 48 hour strikes starting on 5, 12, 19 and 26 November.
In December, the 48 hour strikes will commence on 3, 10 and 17 December. All the strikes will start at 00.01.
This will be accompanied by a continuous overtime ban commencing at 00.01 tomorrow.
Unite regional officer Cheryl Pidgeon said: “This last minute slightly improved pay package has been roundly rejected by our members and, as a result, they will be starting the first day of ten 48 hour strikes tomorrow.
“This dispute has been marred by the inconsistent treatment of all employees; bullying and harassment; and a ‘we tell you, but you do’ culture.
We offered to work constructively with the conciliation service Acas to resolve these issues, but this was firmly rejected by the company’s Swiss directors.
“We hope that tomorrow’s strike action will act like a cold shower of common sense and make these recalcitrant bosses realise that the industrial action, stretching up to Christmas, will have a dramatic and adverse impact on the company’s production schedules.
“Therefore, it is in management’s interests to sit down with Unite for meaningful negotiations – Unite’s door is open for such talks 24/7.”
Unite members voted 61 per cent for strike action and by 60 per cent for industrial action short of strike action after rejecting the original offer of a 2.2 per cent pay offer for the year starting January 2019.
A spokesman for Fobo Flooring UK Ltd said: "The Unite union continue to be our dialogue partner and not the press. We kindly ask you to respect this and appreciate your understanding."