Employees at Huntingdon factory warned against second strike

VIP Polymers

VIP Polymers - Credit: Archant

ABOUT 40 workers at a Huntingdon factory went on strike on Monday in protest at a 10 per cent pay cut.

Machine operators at VIP Polymers, in Windover Court, took industrial action following a ballot of GMB union members two weeks ago.

According to the union, the vote was organised six months after a company consultation which resulted in VIP Polymers telling staff they either took a 10 per cent pay cut or potentially faced losing their jobs.

Alan Costello, GMB regional organiser, told The Hunts Post: “This is likely to be a long process as the firm has taken a hardline approach.

“Talks with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) have proved ineffective as the company is unwilling to negotiate terms.”

VIP Polymers confirmed 38 operators took part in the strike.

Mr Costello said further industrial action had not been ruled out but John Millar, VIP Polymers managing director, urged his workers to refrain from a second strike as it could damage long-term jobs.

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Mr Millar said: “If this action were to be repeated, or if support for it were to increase, it would not be in the interests of the workforce because of the damage it could do to the business and job prospects.

“Furthermore, though it is supported by a majority of GMB members among the production operators, only 28 voted in favour out of a total of 77 operators on our payroll. All but two of these have already signed up to the pay reduction and in effect to contributing to safeguarding the future of the business.”

He added that the 10 per cent cut was across the company, including company directors and management.

“Many of our competitors have gone out of business with the loss of many hundreds of jobs as work has been lost either through reduced demand or to countries with lower labour costs than the UK,” Mr Millar said.

“Our proposed wage reduction is intended to help us to get through this difficult period, wherever possible securing jobs. Our aim is clear – to secure greater competitiveness from a lower cost base and reduction in labour costs is essential for that.”