Svoboda | Graniru | BBC Russia | Golosameriki | Facebook

Craigavon dispute: Workers at Interface flooring firm begin strike action

  • Published
Unite strike in Craigavon
Image caption,
The Unite union said the strike would continue until workers "get the respect from the company they deserve"

About 100 production workers at the Interface flooring company in Craigavon, County Armagh, have started strike action.

The Unite union said the strike would continue until workers "get the respect from the company they deserve".

It says the dispute arose after management rejected the workers' pay claim for 11%.

The company said it had been working "to understand the specific needs and concerns of our Craigavon members".

Unite says the company offered a pay increase of 5.25%, with an extra 2% to shift premiums for hourly employees.

"Our representatives have been in pay negotiations for months," Unite regional officer Neil Moore said.

"There have been years of pay suppression - last year workers only took a 1.5% increase.

"Workers say this strike is a long time coming; it is to do with the cost of living and having to pay bills.

"We are obviously seeing huge challenges with the cost of living, it is turning into a cost of surviving crisis."

'Ever-changing businesses conditions'

Mr Moore said some union members could not afford to put petrol in their cars, were struggling to be able to take their kids out at the weekend and struggling to keep up with increased gas and electricity prices.

"£20,000 a year would be the site average wage for production workers, but that includes skilled production operatives such as fitters and electricians," he said.

"The company have agreed to talks but not until Friday."

Image caption,
Neil Moore of Unite said the strike was "a long time coming"

Unite said the strike action followed a ballot of more than 100 of its members, which resulted in a majority of 87% for strike action on a turn out of 95%.

Interface has been manufacturing commercial carpet tile at Craigavon for 40 years.

Eline Oudenbroek, vice-president Supply Chain, Interface EMEA, said the company had worked "tirelessly over the past few months, in partnership with Unite union representatives, to understand the specific needs and concerns of our Craigavon team members".

"We believe the package offered as a part of our annual salary negotiations remains highly competitive considering the current challenging and ever-changing business conditions," she said.

"We review and adjust our employment benefits and practices each year to ensure we remain a responsible, supportive and attractive employer. "

Interface said the team at Craigavon was a valued part of its global manufacturing operation, and it was "committed to continuing conversations with Unite and colleagues to find a satisfactory resolution for us all".

Related Topics