Glassmaker Pilkington to be hit by week-long strike action

The Pilkington Glass St Helens plant

Staff at St Helens glassmaking plant, Pilkington, will stage a week-long strike after voting to reject the company’s latest pay offer.

More than 170 workers, including production operators, warehouse staff, engineers and technicians, have voted to reject the deal, which trade union Unite says represents a five per cent pay offer.

Union leaders say, with the RPI rate of inflation running at 11.8%, this represents a real terms pay cut.

The union members, including some from the GMB union, will stage their action from August 17, to August 23.

Pilkington, which was founded 1826, is owned by the Japan-based Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG) Group. Unite says NSG’s financial reports for 2021/22 show it had a free cash flow of £134m and made profits of £25m.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “Pilkington and NSG’s pay offer is a real terms pay cut.

“They can afford to pay these workers a decent rise. So they should pay. Our members’ jobs, pay and conditions are this union’s top priority, so the Pilkington workers will have the union’s full backing.”

Unite regional officer, Richard O’Brien, said: “Pilkington’s offer is a pay cut disguised as a rise.

“Our members are struggling with rocketing prices and they have Unite’s full support in striking for a pay rise that reflects the cost of living. Pilkington and NSG must now put forward a pay offer our members can accept.”

A spokesperson for Pilkington UK said: “We’re disappointed that after negotiating in good faith with unions, they rejected the offer of a six per cent pay rise and £500 one-off payment, with a business performance-related bonus of up to £1,800.

“We’d like our colleagues to consider the impact of strike action on the business at a time when energy-intensive manufacturers like ourselves continue to shoulder unprecedented energy and raw material costs.

“We hope to continue discussions with unions with our offer still standing to avoid strike action.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to minimise the impact of industrial action on our valued customers as best we can.”