Strike paralyses production at glass manufacturer with non-union workers joining the picket line

Union calls for employer to sit down and negotiate instead of adopting intimidatory approach to employees

Workers at Vista Therm, a glass manufacturer based at the Silverwood industrial estate in Craigavon took their first day of strike action today. The strike paralysed production at the factory with non-union workers joining Unite members the picket line.

Unite the union has now lodged notice of a further two days of strike action next week – on Thursday and Friday 20th and 21st July and warned workers were likely to further escalate their action in the absence of any engagement by management.

The industrial action follows a unanimous vote for strike action (100%) due to the refusal of management to engage the trade union in pay negotiations. Management have signalled that they no longer recognise the trade union despite a collective bargaining agreement existing within the workplace since 2007. On today’s picket line representatives of the company noted the names of workers on the picket line and police were called out.

Vista Therm is part of Lehr Limited Partnership a campany registered in Jersey and is a highly successful and profitable business. Sales at Vista Therm have ramped up 31.5% since 2017 reaching £18.3 million in 2021 when the company’s pre-tax profits were £915k.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham welcomed the strength of the ballot for industrial action.

“Today’s strike action has paralysed production at Vista Therm. The workforce are the secret of the success of this company but have been undervalued by management for years. They are determined to end that situation and to win both recognition of their trade union and a pay increase that offers some protection in the current cost of living crisis.

Management at Vista Therm need to end their anti-union manoeuvres and attempts to intimidate their own employees. All they need to do to end this dispute is recognise our union and engage in pay negotiations that deliver for our members. In the absence of any such engagement, this strike will escalate.

Regional Officer for the workforce is Neil Moore who explained the motivation for the strike.

Workers have been forced onto the picket line by management’s bizarre refusal to engage with a long recognised trade union. Today we had police called to workers’ picket while they were  exercising their basic human right to withhold their labour in a lawful dispute.

“The ballot of these workers returned a 100% vote for strike action; that tells you everything you need to know about the strength of feeling among the workers – and indeed non-union workers joined the picket line in support today.

“Instead of management looking to take measures to try and intimidate their own employees and repress their rights – they need to sit down and engage with our union and negotiate a settlement that offers a pay increase and respect to their own workforce.”