Striking workers at a glass bottling factory have been turning away lorries as part of a 48-hour walk-out in a pay dispute.
More than 300 employees at Encirc Glass, Ash Road, Elton , near Chester, have withdrawn their labour from 6.45am today (Thursday, June 30) until 6.45am on Saturday.
But the company, which makes glass bottles for drinks companies Heineken and Diageo, claims its pay offer outstrips inflation and exceeds deals at other firms in the manufacturing sector.
Unite the Union says a high proportion of staff wages at the plant has traditionally been made up of a bonus element ‘to prop up’ low wages.
But this creates uncertainty around actual take-home pay as unforeseen issues beyond the control of the workforce can have an impact.
Various options have been discussed but Unite the Union’s main aim is to consolidate 95% of bonus pay into the basic wage which the company refuses to agree.
Unite regional officer Alison Spencer-Scragg said: “It is disappointing that we are at this stage, but Encirc Glass does not seem to appreciate how divisive the bonus scheme is for our members.
“Workers are concerned at the way bonus payments are being used to prop up low salaries. Historically, this has been an issue for staff at the site as in a recent survey employees have expressed a dissatisfaction rate of over 70 per cent regarding the bonus scheme.
“We have made an offer to the director to sit down with the team of Unite representatives to understand how his employees feel, but so far this has not been taken up.
“As always, we remain available for talks with the company to resolve the dispute.”
Adrian Curry, managing director of Encirc, said in a statement: “The company is extremely disappointed to be facing industrial action from Unite the Union.
“The action follows a long negotiation and an extremely competitive pay offer which outstripped inflation and exceeded other pay offers across the manufacturing industry.
“We are a business that values our employees and commits to giving them the best possible deal. Our focus now lies on ensuring business continues as usual during these two days and resolving the issues as quickly as possible for all of our colleagues.”