Pilkington glass workers set to strike over pay offer

More than 170 workers at Pilkington Glass are set to walk out on strike action over pay.

Unite, the union, said that glassmakers, production operators, warehouse staff, engineers and technicians are among those employed at the Pilkington factory in St Helens who will walk out from Wednesday, August 17 until Tuesday August 23.

They have rejected a five per cent pay offer arguing it is a pay cut in real terms when set against the rate of inflation (RPI), currently running at 11.8 per cent.

GMB union members are also involved in the dispute.

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A spokesman for Pilkington, owned by Japan-based Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG) Group, urged colleagues to consider the impact of strike action on the business at a time when energy intensive manufacturers are facing unprecedented energy and raw material costs.

Unite has cited NSG’s financial reports for 2021/22 that show it had a free cash flow of £134 million and made profits of £25 million.

Unite regional officer Richard O’Brien said: “Pilkington’s offer is a pay cut disguised as a rise. Our members are struggling with rocketing prices and they have Unite’s full support in striking for a pay rise that reflects the cost of living. Pilkington and NSG must now put forward a pay offer our members can accept.”

A spokesperson for Pilkington UK said: “We’re disappointed that after negotiating in good faith with unions, they rejected the offer of a 6% pay rise and £500 one-off payment, with a business performance related bonus of up to £1,800.

“We’d like our colleagues to consider the impact of strike action on the business at a time when energy intensive manufacturers like ourselves continue to shoulder unprecedented energy and raw material costs. We hope to continue discussions with unions with our offer still standing to avoid strike action.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to minimise the impact of industrial action on our valued customers as best we can.”

In April last year, NSG announced it will cut over 2,000 jobs from its global workforce, with the redundancies expected to affect its UK workforce.

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