The delivery of thousands of ‘white goods’, from fridge freezers to kettles, could be severely disrupted, if more than 200 drivers and warehouse staff at Indesit UK Ltd take industrial action.
The ballot by members of Unite, the country’s largest union, for strike action and industrial action short of a strike comes after years of below inflation pay awards. It opens today (Tuesday 23 June) and closes on Tuesday 7 July.
Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said that the pay offer for the year starting January 2015 was 1.5 per cent, when at the time of the negotiations inflation was running at 1.7 per cent. In 2014, the pay award was also 1.5 per cent, when the inflation rate was two per cent.
Unite members are also angry at the attack on their terms and conditions. At present, if there were job losses, the redundancy pay is calculated at a guaranteed 45 hour week. Now the company wants to reduce this to contracted hours of 37 or 40 a week, depending on individual employee contracts.
The workforce ensures that freezers, fridge freezers, cookers, hobs, kettles and toasters are delivered directly to homes and trade outlets across the UK.
Mark Plumb said: “Our members are angry at the below inflation pay they have had to endure in recent years which has eroded their standard of living. Now the management is starting to attack their terms and conditions in regards to guaranteed redundancy payments.
“Basically, our members have said: ‘Enough is enough’ and are being balloted for industrial action, including strike action.
“As the drivers deliver more than 16,000 items of white goods each week across the UK, any industrial action could severely disrupt deliveries for Indesit customers.
“We urge the management to get around the table to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement for our members.”
The drivers, attendants and warehouse staff are based at: Andover; Barnsley; Chepstow; Gateshead; Grangemouth; Hayes (west London); Mallusk (Newtonabbey, Northern Ireland); Trafford Park (Manchester); Raunds (Northamptonshire); Sharpness (Berkeley, Gloucestershire); Wednesbury (West Midlands); and West Thurrock (Essex).
Indesit Company is an Italian company based in Ancona province, Italy. It is one of the leading European manufacturers and distributors of major domestic appliances
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.