Unite members at magazine printers Wyndham Impact in Basingstoke printing firm continue to take strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions.
In 2009 employees took a 13% pay cut on the understanding that a review would be carried out a year later – but that no review has been forthcoming.
Steve Sibbald, national officer of Unite said: “The main reason for this strike was the pay cut – but it’s been one thing after another. Sick pay has been withdrawn and our members say the firm has started to dock employees for whole shifts if they are even slightly late.”
Unite chapel members at the company, on both night and day shifts, went on strike for two hours on Friday, after previously taking action on May 6th and May 13th. They have also been working to rule, taking hour-long breaks during the middle of their shifts, and refusing to carry out tasks such as unloading lorries. The action is set to continue week by week unless the dispute is resolved.
One chapel member told the local newspaper: “It’s fair to say that the lads are furious. We didn’t want it to come to this and we kept quiet for months because we hoped it could all be resolved internally. But we had to get the union involved otherwise we will continue to be walked all over by the management. They are not being reasonable.”
Steve Sibbald said: “Our members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. This is a centre that has not had industrial relations problems for years and years. But there does come a point that you have to say that enough is enough. We have had so many meetings at all levels within the company but bosses have not been willing to negotiate. Our members feel that they have no choice but to take industrial action. They will continue to take action until they feel they are being heard.”
Comment: The actions of Wyndham Impact management are similar to others in the current economic climate – taking the opportunity to cut wages and conditions further or refusing to honour promised re-instatement of pay cuts from two years ago, because they think they can get away with it. Attacking conditions like sick pay hardly helps companies – it is simply companies clawing back hard won conditions – freely negotiated because they think they can get away with it. Unite members took a pay cut to help the company in the midst of the economic crisis and this is the thanks they get. They are to be congratulated on their stand.