Staggering 250 per cent profits jump, but pay cut on the table for workers

The repair, installation and maintenance of the UK’s household appliances, including washing machines, will be hit should Whirlpool workers vote to strike over an ‘insulting’ pay offer.

Unite the union is balloting its members, employed by the hugely profitable Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited, for industrial action over a 2.5 per cent pay offer – a substantial real terms wage cut at a time when the RPI rate of inflation is at 11 per cent. The ballot started this week and closes on Tuesday 5 July.

Unite members, who deliver, install and repair domestic appliances across the UK, are employed by Whirlpool working across three core brands - Hotpoint, Indesit and Whirlpool.

Whirlpool’s annual accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020 reported profits before taxation up massively by 250 per cent to £12,040,000 from £4,808,000 in 2019. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Here we go again; another exceptionally profitable business thinks it can get away with what is effectively a huge pay cut for workers while banking runaway profits.  This is totally unacceptable. 

“Whirlpool needs to think again because it can easily afford a fair pay deal.  It’s time to return with a more acceptable offer or face strike action. Unite will support its hardworking Whirlpool members 100 per cent in their fight for pay justice.” 

The appliances include cookers, refrigeration, tumble dryers and dishwashers. All of this work is managed through the contact centre based in Peterborough.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “Our members are furious that their hard work has been met with this insulting pay offer and no acknowledgment that the cost of living crisis is destroying the value of pay.

“If the ballot result is for strike action, it will mean the repairs, installation and maintenance of tens of thousands of household goods will be thrown into a spin, causing severe inconvenience to customers.”

The delivery depots are in Andover, Barnsley, Chepstow, Gateshead, Grangemouth, Hayes, Manchester, Mallusk ((Northern Ireland), Raunds (Northamptonshire), Wednesbury (West Midlands) and West Thurrock. The service engineers are based nationwide. 

The engineer members were also offered two one-off payments of £400 and the logistics’ staff a one-off payment of £700, but the union says that these still fall far short of a cost of living pay lift.

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.