Cheques and cheque books issued by high street banks and the HMRC are set to be delayed after members of Unite, the UK’s largest union, at Communisis in Crewe, voted for strike action, in a dispute over pay.

The 79 workers are to set to begin strike action with 48 hours of strikes beginning on Tuesday 28 August and there will then be two days of strike action on the Monday and Tuesday of each week for six weeks. There will also be a continuous overtime ban for the entire period.

The workers have a rejected an eight per cent pay increase over three years with the award being broken down as two per cent in year one and three per cent in the second and final year. The workforce were not prepared to accept a below inflation rise for year one after several years of below inflation pay rises.

Following the rejection of the pay offer Communisis’ management refused to return to the negotiating table and instead imposed the pay award, which has further increased workplace tensions.

As a result of management’s actions, members voted for strike action and action short of strike action. On a turnout in excess of 90 per cent, members voted 77.5 per cent for strike action and 77.8 per cent for action short of strike action.

Unite regional officer Darren Barton said: “The planned strike action will inevitably create delays for bank customers and for the HMRC, however this dispute is entirely of the management’s own making.

“Our members have endured years of below inflation pay increases which means that they have been becoming worse off year on year. Management needs to acknowledge this fact and table an improved increase.

“Rather than sit down with Unite and undertake further negotiations the company imposed the pay offer which has enflamed tensions.

“Unite remains fully prepared to sit down and resolve this issue before strike action begins but the ball is now firmly in management’s court.”

Unite north west legal manager Michael Tighe said: “The company needs to listen to our members who deserve better. Its decision to simply impose a pay award and declining to hold further meetings with the union is bad industrial practice and demonstrates that the employer is not listening to our members. Its actions also give rise to legal claims for which I have put the company on notice.”

“Given the wish of our members to take industrial action the company should look to resolve this dispute without further delay and without trying to circumvent the Union”.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.