Glen Dimplex staff stage one day strike

August 22, 2016

Around 120 union members in the Glen Dimplex plant in Newry downed tools last Thursday in planned strike action over pay.

According to Union Organiser, Denis Sheridan, the Glen Dimplex workers had been involved in negotiations with the company for some time concerning an increase in pay.

“Unfortunately, due to the intransigence shown by management at these talks no agreement was reached,” said Mr Sheridan.

Last Thursday’s work stoppage was the first of several planned for the coming weeks and is in addition to an ongoing work-to-rule campaign at the plant which includes a ban on overtime and callouts.

SIPTU Shop Steward, Alan Clark, said: “Our members have sought to find a negotiated solution to this dispute. Glen Dimplex is a profitable company and it is only fair that the workers who produce its high quality heating and other products are rewarded in an acceptable manner for their work.

“We regret that we have found it necessary to implement strike action in an attempt to bring an end to this dispute. SIPTU representatives remain available to engage in meaningful talks with management at any time.”

Commending the workers who took to the picket line on Thursday, Independent Newry City councillor Kevin McAteer said,

“We can’t ignore the fact that 93% of SIPTU members in the factory voted in favour of strike action and we must respect that democratic process,

”There have been extensive talks as of late between workers and management, however as no agreement could be reached members voted overwhelmingly to strike and they should be commended for that.

“However what has worried me is the behaviour of management as I have been told by workers that management have been extremely disrespectful towards the strike and have also threatened to phone the police during the strike itself.

“I hope that a peaceful solution can be found soon.”

Speaking from the picket line on Thursday, where a delegation of Sinn Fein representatives had joined the Glen Dimplex workers, Newry MLA Conor Murphy said it was the company’s duty to engage with its workers.

“We have spoken to the staff here on the picket line and it’s quite clear that they do not want to be striking today; they have been forced into this position by management’s refusal to engage meaningfully with them,” he said.

“These are very dedicated workers; people who have been loyal employees of the company for decades, some of them with 30 or 40 plus years of service; they are not the type of people who would make a decision like this flippantly.

“They’re not asking for anything beyond what will allow the staff to keep up with the cost of living.  Their demands are completely reasonable and I think, given the years of loyal service and experience they have here, the company has a duty to engage in proper negotiations with the workers and their representatives.”

His Sinn Fein colleague, MP Mickey Brady agreed and said negotiating was not only the appropriate thing to do but the right thing to do.

“We’ve been talking to the staff a lot today and as well as a sense of anger at the intransigence of management there is a very genuine sense of hurt that a company they have worked for for so long could dismiss their very modest requests so thoughtlessly,” he said.

“Their demands are not unreasonable and in this case in particular, given the years of service, I would say engaging with the staff and their representatives is not only the appropriate thing for Glen Dimplex to do but the right thing, indeed the decent thing.”