Workers at Dulux paint producer AkzoNobel in Stowmarket, Suffolk are being balloted for strike action over a ‘paltry’ pay offer, as the bosses issue an ultimatum to withdraw an already rejected offer.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union which represents the vast majority of the workforce, said that its members had already rejected a 2.25 per cent pay offer for the year starting 1 April 2019 in a consultative ballot by a 98 per cent majority.

Unite said since the ballot has started the management has written to all its members at the Needham Road site threatening to withdraw the deal and withhold the backdated uplift they would be due on their pay if they don’t agree to the 2.25 per cent offer by 6 September.

Unite regional officer Neal Evans said: “The management seems hell-bent on ratcheting up bad feeling in this dispute by sending this intemperate letter to our members who don’t take well to threats.

“We are in the middle of a legitimate ballot for strike action over a paltry pay offer that the workers have already overwhelmingly rejected in a consultative ballot and it is unhelpful in the extreme to threaten to withdraw the uplift in the pay offer from 1 April this year.

“The management’s hardline attitude has been compounded by the additional threat to make the settlement available to non-union members only. We are investigating if this would be legal as it appears that management is encouraging our members to leave Unite by offering what could be described as a bribe.

“We are disgusted by this stance that smacks of a ‘divide and rule’ policy that we won’t tolerate.

“The management should drop the threats and divisive tactics that are besmirching employment relations – and return to the negotiating table to reach a fair pay award for our members.”

The strike ballot closes next Tuesday (27 August). Besides Dulux paint, the site also produces Cuprinol.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065 Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.