Hull workers at chemical giant Croda Europe Ltd are at the ‘end of their tether over years of missing holiday pay’ and are being balloted for strike action, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday 30 November 2020).   

Around 90 Croda workers, who are members of Unite, are being balloted for strike action over the company’s failure to incorporate holiday entitlement into their shift rotas at its Oak Road site. 

As a result, shift workers at the factory have suffered miscalculations in their annual leave for as long as 21 years, with long serving staff owed thousands of pounds in holiday back pay.

Unite said it is ‘particularly galling’ for the workers that Croda’s Oak Road factory is the only one of the firm’s sites where holiday pay is excluded from annual working hour calculations for shift rotas.  

Croda has previously acknowledged the mistake and in February 2020 offered to settle with the affected staff. The proposed settlement did not reflect adequate compensation for the amount of holiday pay lost, however, and Unite’s membership rejected the offer.

If the ballot, which opens on Monday 30 November and closes on Monday 14 December, is successful, Unite said the resultant strike action will ‘severely hamper Croda’s ability to operate’

Unite regional officer Mick Simpson: “Croda’s shift workers are at the end of their tether over years of missing holiday pay they are legally entitled to, with some long serving staff owed thousands.  

“The strike ballot shouldn’t come as a bolt from the blue for the company. Croda has previously acknowledged the holiday pay issue, but other than an unsatisfactory offer which would have left staff out of pocket, nothing has been done to put it right. Making the situation particularly galling is the fact that holiday pay for shift workers at all of Croda’s other sites is calculated differently.

“Our members would much rather settle this dispute amicably. Unite urges Croda to put forward a realistic compensation package and incorporate annual leave into shift rotas going forward. Not to do so risks strike action that will severely hamper Croda’s ability to operate as well as force Unite to seek redress for our members through the legal system.”


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.