Devon glass companies’ pay dispute escalates with wave of new strikes announced

1 June 2017

Devon glass companies’ pay dispute escalates with wave of new strikes announced

From Unite
25 May 2017

The industrial harmony of rural Devon has been shattered as workers at two related glass products companies ramp up strike action.

Workers at D B Glass at Newton Abbot will be joining staff working at Sierra Windows in Paignton on the picket line after voting overwhelmingly for strike action – both companies are part of the same Specialist Building Products group.

The workers at both sites – members of Unite, the country’s largest union – have rejected a pay deal for the year April 2016 – April 2017 of 1.5 per cent, but would have only been payable from this month.

They are also angry that shifts have been changed unilaterally from five days of seven hours to four days of 12 hours.

A total of 44 workers at D B Glass – a leading manufacturer of insulated glass units – voted by 81 per cent for strike action, with the first of six 48 hour stoppages is due to start on Wednesday 7 June and then repeated on 14, 21 and 28 June, and 5 and 12 July.

Meanwhile, employees at the sister company Sierra Windows will continue their rolling programme of strikes which started on 26 April. Unite today (Thursday 25 May) announced a further nine 48 hour strikes at the company, starting on Wednesday 31 May.

There will be further 48 hours strikes scheduled for 7, 15, 22 and 29 June and then 5, 12, 19 and 26 July. Unite represents the majority of the 150-strong workforce at Sierra Windows, which makes bespoke frames.

Unite regional coordinating officer Terry Keefe said: “Both these firms – Sierra Windows and D B Glass – are part of Specialist Building Products which is a profitable group.

“The overwhelming strike mandate that we have achieved at D B Glass demonstrates the depth of anger at the miserly pay offer and the imposition of new unreasonable shift patterns

“We have argued that the shift alteration is either not wanted by the staff because of the adverse impact on the work/life balance or because some will lose money under this new arrangement.

“This dispute is spreading across Devon and must be hitting customer orders.

“We reiterate our call to the top bosses at Specialist Building Products to knock some sense into the local management at their two firms, so we can hold constructive talks to resolve the issues at the centre of the disputes at Paignton and Newton Abbot.

“Unite is ready 24/7 to take part in such talks.”

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