Heavy-handed bosses at Derby’s Reckitt Benckiser plant are blamed for triggering a strike ballot by about 160 workers angry at being asked to work for up to an extra four weeks a year. 

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said its members working for the consumer goods giant were being balloted for strike action over plans to increase their annual working hours. The ballot closes on Thursday (27 June).

Unite said that its members at Sinfin Lane, which makes such iconic brands as Dettol and Mr Sheen, faced working  either an extra 107 hours or 157 hours a year, depending on their contract.

Unite regional officer Kevin Hepworth said: “What we have here is a so-called progressive multinational giant trying to bulldoze through a harsh increase in working hours which could mean up to an extra four weeks a year.

“We are blaming heavy-handed bosses in Derby for morale plummeting over the last two years and for these ill thought-out plans where even Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Day will be treated as normal working days.

“Under these plans, which the company wants to introduce from 1 August, many employees could lose up to £1,600 a year as the hours they get paid overtime rates for currently will now be part of the normal working week.

“At a time when most progressive companies are looking to reduce the working week to improve work/life balance, here is a management hell-bent on trying to force many workers to increase their working time by an extra 157 hours to 2,190 hours per year.

“Our dedicated and hardworking members are aghast at what the management is planning and, if the bosses don’t have a radical rethink, strike action later this summer is very much on the cards.”


Notes to editors:

The industrial dispute that Unite members are being balloted over relates to: “The employer imposing detrimental changes to Terms & Conditions, including increasing working hours to 2,190 per year.”

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.