Workers at a Co Armagh factory are planning a 24-hour strike after almost a week into an overtime ban.
Union Unite says the first 24 hour strike is set to start in Glen Dimplex in Portadown at midnight on Monday October 29.
Workers at the firm, which manufactures Quantum-intelligent storage heaters, are taking industrial action in a bid to claim a living wage.
Two weeks ago around 85% of the 100 strong workforced voted for industrial action.
Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald confirmed plans for the action to escalate with a first, twenty-four hour stoppage from 7am Monday, October 29th .
“The majority of the workers at Glen Dimplex are paid an hourly rate of less than £8.75 an hour which according to the independent, UK-based, Living Wage Foundation is the bare minimum hourly rate for workers to have a basic standard of living. The fact that bosses are refusing to sign up to paying these experienced production workers this rate is completely unacceptable.
“Glen Dimplex is a highly successful global group. Their latest published accounts show profits of €38 on turnover of just below a billion euro. This is a company that can well afford to meet the workforce demand for a Living Wage.
“Indeed, while workers in Portadown are being told that the company can’t afford to pay £8.75 an hour, the accounts confirm that they managed to find €13 million to pay a dividend to shareholders last year.
“In a recent ballot, Unite members voted with majorities of 85.7% for strike action and 91.4% for industrial action short of strike action. With a turnout of 89% this is an overwhelming and unprecedented mandate for action to secure their pay claim which seeks the company commit to paying a Living Wage this year and into the future.
“I find it mind-boggling that a profitable company are forcing working people to go to the gate for such a modest demand. The workers receive a small weekly bonus for working over and above the 100% rate, they have actually offered to incorporate part of this bonus into the hourly rate of pay in order to self finance the living wage rate. This means that if this highly profitable company provided an increase of just 3% this dispute could be resolved.
“As the first step in a graduated roll-out of industrial action, a work-to-rule commenced Monday October 22nd. The first twenty-four strike will commence at 7am on Monday October 29th.
“We are calling on management to meet the workers’ pay claim in order to avoid the unnecessary disruption that will result from this looming industrial dispute. Failing that, we are confident of getting huge support from working people in Portadown and further afield”, Ms Fitzgerald said.