Workers at historic lock maker to strike

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Workers at the historic lock makers Henry Squire and Sons, based in Featherstone, Wolverhampton, will begin strike action next month in a dispute over pay.

Union Unite says the workers were due to receive a pay increase in January but management refused to make an offer.

It said that instead, the company has offered a 2.5% increase for the period from July to December, which it says in real terms is worth 1.25% for the entire year.

Unite said: “The derisory offer is a significant real terms pay cut with the RPI inflation rate currently standing at 4.8%”.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers at Henry Squire are long due a decent pay rise. The current July to December offer for 2021, is a pay cut in real terms. Understandably that has not been accepted by union members. It’s simple Henry Squire can avoid industrial action by Unite members. How? By making a decent wages offer.”

The first week long strike action will begin on Monday 4 October and there are similar week long periods of industrial actions scheduled to begin on Monday 25 October, 15 November and 6 December.

The company makes padlocks and other locking mechanisms which are distributed by Screwfix and other suppliers.

Unite has warned that the strikes will bring production to a halt.

The workforce at Henry Squire are typically paid around £9.50 an hour.

A statement from Squire said: “Squire employs a team of 45 people at its manufacturing headquarters in Featherstone, Wolverhampton, of which 19 colleagues are members of Unite.

“As a family owned, independent manufacturer since 1780, we’re proud that for many years we’ve rewarded our team with annual pay increases and bonuses.

“In June, we made a final offer for pay awards to Unite members of our team of:

1. 2.5% increase on company pay rates from 1st July 2021

2. A further 2.5% increase on company pay rates from 1st January 2022

“We can confirm that following a consultative ballot with Unite members at Squire, this offer has been rejected.”

Operations director Glyn Green said: “We are very disappointed in this outcome, particularly after one of the most difficult trading periods in our company’s history.

“This remains our best and final offer and we look forward to an agreement on pay awards very soon.”