Glass workers set to strike in Yorskshire and Scotland

10 September 2013

Workers at the Ardagh Glass sites in Yorkshire and Scotland will start a period of industrial action from Saturday 14 September, after overwhelmingly rejecting a pay offer.

The strikes and overtime bans follow a rejection of a 5.5 per cent two-year pay deal and the company’s refusal last week to improve on this offer.

The workers at the sites in Barnsley, Doncaster and Knottingley in Yorkshire and at Irvine in Ayrshire voted by 78 per cent against the offer.

At Barnsley, there will be a 24 hour stoppage affecting different shifts on Monday 16 September starting at 06.00 and for some shifts running to 06.00 on Tuesday 17 September. There will a 24 hour stoppage on Saturday 21 September and, again, for some shifts running to 07.00 on Sunday 22 September. Barnsley will also be taking part in a total overtime ban from 06:00 on Monday 16 September to 06:00 on Monday 23 September.

At Knottingley, a total overtime ban will start at 06.00 on Saturday 14 September ending at 06.00 on Monday 23 September. Some shifts will strike from 06.00 on Monday 16 September, ending at 06.00 on Tuesday 17 September; and other shifts will strike from 07.00 on Saturday 21 September, ending at 07.00 on Sunday 22 Sunday.

At Doncaster, there will be a total overtime ban from 06.00 on Saturday 14 September to 06.00 on Monday 23 September. Some shifts will strike at 06.00 on Monday 16 September for 24 hours and other shifts will strike at 07.00 on Saturday 21 September for 24 hours.

The strikes at Irvine will follow a similar 24 hour pattern on 16 and 21 September.

Unite deputy regional secretary for Yorkshire Tas Sangha said: “Our members voted overwhelmingly against the company’s offer and last week Unite and the GMB union asked the company to increase the pay offer – it refused.

“This is a highly profitable company and could well afford to be more generous at a time when inflation is eroding our members’ take home pay and household bills, such as food and energy, continue to soar.

“Furthermore, the employees at two of the Ardagh Group’s glass companies in Europe have received bigger increases than that being offered to our members in the UK.

“Unite’s door for further talks is open before the strike dates and we urge the company to come up with an improved offer.”

The pay offer that was rejected was three per cent between February this year and January 2014 – two per cent from February to July and the additional one per cent from 1 August – and a further 2.5 per cent between February 2014 and January 2015.

The package also included a commitment to a review of ‘committed’ shift working, including a commitment to reduce the amount of committed shift working at all sites.

Workers at both sites had voted overwhelming for strike action and industrial action short of a strike – but industrial action had been suspended while they voted on the pay offer, now rejected.

Ardagh Glass, which made £65 million in pre-tax profits last year, employs about 1,300 workers. The reports that Unite have received from the company show that it is projected to make £69 million pre-tax profits this year. Unite Logo 120712

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