There was solid support on the final day of a 48-hour strike at Chester glass manufacturers Encirc Glass today (Friday 1 July), as messages of support flooded in from workers at some of the firm’s customers, including Heineken, InBev and Diageo.
Over 300 members of Unite, the country’s largest union, have been on strike at the Chester-based glass firm since 06:45 yesterday (Thursday 30 June) in the dispute over pay.
Branding attempts by Encirc to undermine the lawful action by threating and insulting staff as ‘shameful’, the union urged the firm to see sense and enter into further meaningful negotiations.
Workers at the company have rejected a two-year pay deal based on a two per cent pay rise in year one and a conversion of bonus pay into basic pay in year two. This means there would be no basic pay award for year two, with pay rises instead determined through a divisive bonus scheme.
Unite regional officer Alison Spencer-Scragg said: “There has been solid support for the strike, despite reports of some at the company shamefully trying to threaten and insult staff. Unite will not tolerate its members being treated in such a way and has reported the firm to the conciliation service Acas and enlisted the help of the local MP, Justin Madders.
“Unite has also contacted the Health and Safety Executive over health and safety breaches which may have occurred because of the company’s actions during the strike.
“With support flooding in from workers at Encirc’s biggest customers, we would urge the firm to drop its belligerent stance and reopen negotiations on the pay award.
“Workers are concerned at the way bonus payments are being used to prop up low salaries. Historically, this has been an issue for staff at the site resulting in overwhelming dissatisfaction throughout the workforce.
“We would urge senior management to sit down with Unite to negotiate a settlement that meets our members’ concerns.”
For further information please contact Alison Spencer-Scragg on 07717 787358 or 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.