Whirlpool in a spin as Peterborough warehouse workers announce extensive strikes over ‘preposterous’ wage offer
- Wednesday 26 April 2023
White goods maker Whirlpool is facing extensive disruption to its repairs service after workers at its Peterborough parts factory voted overwhelmingly for extensive strikes, due to their appallingly low pay rates.
Huge yes strike vote
Around 70 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, recorded a 98 per cent vote in favour of strike action. The workers who are responsible for supplying the company’s engineers with spare parts for repairs while also re-working machines that have been returned, only receive the national minimum wage of £10.42 an hour.
Incredibly the company is effectively only proposing to increase workers’ pay by a penny so that they receive £10.43 an hour. Whirlpool offered its workers a pay increase of five per cent backdated to October 2022, a real terms pay cut. That offer was overtaken by the national minimum wage increase which came into effect on 1 April. With no further offer being made, the company is now effectively offering a one pence pay increase.
Dickensian pay offer
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “You could not make this up. This is a company counting its likely profits at nearly $20 billion and it has the gall to offer its UK workers a penny rise. This is astonishing by any standard. It beats the tales from Charles Dickens
“Not only does Whirlpool think that its highly dedicated and skilled workforce are only worth the national minimum wage, but now it’s adding insult to injury with this preposterous offer.
“Unite has got a laser like focus on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at Whirlpool will receive the union’s unswerving support.”
Extensive strike dates
The workers will strike for an initial day on Friday 5 May, this will then be followed by a 17 day strike from Tuesday 9 May ending on Friday 26 May. There will then be a further strike from Tuesday 30 May ending on Friday 2 June.
The US backed company is incredibly wealthy and it recently reported that its full year profits are expected to be $19.4 billion.
Whirlpool offered its workers a pay increase of five per cent backdated to October 2022, a real terms pay cut. That offer was effectively overtaken by the national minimum wage increase which came into effect on 1 April. With no further offer being made, the company is now effectively offering a one pence pay increase.
Repairs service in a spin
Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said: “Strike action is set to put Whirlpool’s repairs service into a spin, but this dispute is completely of the company’s own making. It has had every opportunity to resolve this dispute but it has failed to do so.”
Members of the GMB union are also involved in this dispute.
Notes to editors
For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.
Email: [email protected]
Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy