Shop fitters kitting out high street stores including Tesco and Vodafone today (Monday 1 August) blasted a ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ pay offer as bizarre as they prepared to begin a three day walkout starting Wednesday 3 August.
Over 40 shop fitters who are members of Britain’s largest union working at HMY Radford in Burnopfield, Newcastle, have been locked in a dispute over the firm’s initial failure to offer any sort of a pay rise for 2016.
A 24 hour stoppage in July and an ongoing overtime ban prompted the ‘bizarre’ pay offer from the company, which sees workers given a 25 pence an hour increase and their working week reduced by an hour until 16 December 2016, only for the pay rise to be taken away from 1 January 2017 and their working week increased back to 37.5 hours a week.
The firm is also refusing to backdate the proposed pay increase to the beginning of this year despite the anniversary for pay increases being January of each year. It follows a pay freeze for 2015 and several years of below inflation pay increases resulting in workers’ wages falling behind the cost of living in real terms.
Commenting Unite regional officer Mark Sanderson said: “This ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ pay offer is not only bizarre, but insulting. I’ve never seen anything like it, where an employer proposes a pay increase for fewer hours only to take it away months after and expect people to work longer for less.
“Workers are quite rightly angry at what they first thought was a mistake on the company’s behalf. Senior management at HMY Radford need to get real and offer a permanent pay rise which reflects the hard work of staff who have seen their pay eroded over the years with below inflation rises and pay freezes.
“Strike action is a last resort, but our members have been pushed to the limit by a management who seem intent on playing games. We urge the company to enter in to meaningful talks to avoid the disruption of further industrial action.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
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.