Workers at Vista Therm, a glass manufacturer based at the Silverwood industrial estate in Craigavon, Co Armagh, took their first day of strike action today.
The workers, most of whom are Polish speaking, held a banner which said ‘On strike for fair pay’,
Unite the union has now lodged notice of a further two days of strike action next week – on Thursday and Friday, July 20/21, and said workers were likely to further escalate their action in the absence of any engagement by management.
The industrial action follows a unanimous vote for strike action due to the refusal of management to engage the trade union in pay negotiations. Management have signalled that they no longer recognise the trade union despite a collective bargaining agreement existing within the workplace since 2007, said a spokesperson for Unite NI.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham warned the industrial action was likely to escalate: “Today’s strike action has paralysed production at Vista Therm. The workforce are the secret of the success of this company but have been undervalued by management for years. They are determined to end that situation and to win both recognition of their trade union and a pay increase that offers some protection in the current cost of living crisis.
Neil Moore, Regional Officer for the workforce said: “The ballot of these workers returned a 100% vote for strike action; that tells you everything you need to know about the strength of feeling here – and indeed non-union workers joined the picket line in support today.
“Management need to sit down and engage with our union and negotiate a settlement that offers the workforce a pay increase and respect.”