Manufacturing workers prepare to step up industrial action in pay dispute

Glen Dimplex workers' rally

Workers at Prescot-based home appliances manufacturer, Glen Dimplex, are preparing to step up industrial action in their ongoing pay dispute with the company.

Almost 160 members of the Community trade union have already staged a two week strike, before returning to work this week, observing a work-to-rule and overtime ban.

But they have voted to stage a second two-week strike, starting on August 28.

Negotiations have been taking place for nine months. Now, initial talks are scheduled, through industrial peacemaker ACAS, in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

Community says it will continue to back its members until a “fair offer” is made by management.

Earlier this month the workforce marched through the town, culminating in a rally at Prescot Parish Church where senior union officials gave their backing to their demand for skilled pay for skilled work.

Community says many of the skilled manufacturing workers at the Stoney Lane factory are currently paid the minimum wage. Earlier this summer it was reported that the Dublin-based company had quadrupled its profits last year from €11m to €42.8m, increasing overall turnover to €944m.

It said the company’s position following pay talks has been to reduce the working week while not moving on pay – a policy which Community members have found unacceptable.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community Union, said: “Glen Dimplex workers in Prescot are experienced and dedicated. It is disappointing that the company have failed to recognise this by meeting the workforce’s reasonable request for a pay rise – even after nine frustrating months of talks.

“Community Union remains ready to meet with the company for constructive discussions.”

Community’s assistant general secretary, Alasdair McDiarmid, who was among the speakers at the rally, said: “Community members at Glen Dimplex did not want to resort to strike action this week, but have been left with no choice by the company.

“The public in Prescot are right behind the workforce in their demand for a pay rise to recognise the dedication staff have shown to the company over many years, as well as the skilled work they undertake.”

Gavin Miller, Community Union’s national officer for light industries, said: “Community Union reps have tabled several suggestions to try and reach a conclusion to talks with Glen Dimplex, but company representatives have dismissed all these ideas out of hand.

“Glen Dimplex’s lack of willingness to engage with the concerns of the loyal, long serving workforce at the Prescot factory – skilled workers who the company will soon be reliant on to build new product ranges – is both counterproductive and shoddy. It’s not too late for the company to resolve this and get back around the table with a renewed offer on pay.”

A spokesperson from Glen Dimplex Home Appliances said: “We are disappointed that members of the Community Union, who are employed by Glen Dimplex Home Appliances at our Prescot site, have announced their intention to strike for a further two weeks from August 28.

“We have been in discussions with our colleagues, via representatives of the Community Union, for some time with regards their pay increase demands. We can confirm at this stage that we have engaged with ACAS.

“Manufacturing at the Prescot site will continue at reduced levels during the industrial action.”