Workers employed by pallet makers Chep UK Limited, have embarked on all out continuous strike action from this Friday (17 December) in a dispute over pay.
The workers, who belong to Unite, the UK’s leading union, have already taken four days of strike action since the strike began earlier this month. They are stepping up their action as there has been no engagement or negotiations with the company since the dispute began.
No to paltry pay
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite members employed by Chep are not going to accept a paltry pay offer which amounts to a real terms pay cut.
“Chep’s ability to make a fair pay rise is not in doubt – this is purely an attack on the union, because the company’s real fear is for our members to finally have a voice in their workplace, which has for too long been missing.
“Unite is dedicated to putting the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first. The union will back our members at Chep to the hilt until they receive a fair pay rise.”
Real term pay cut
The dispute is a result of the company refusing to improve on a two per cent pay offer. This is a substantial real terms pay cut with the retail price index (RPI) rate of inflation now standing at 7.1 per cent.
The strikes have already had a considerable effect on the business, which is based at Trafford Park in Manchester, with 80 per cent of delivery lorries refusing to cross picket lines and turning away.
Chep is enjoying a boom time and is making substantial profits. The company supplies pallets to companies across the North West and its major customers include InBev, Heinz, Heineken, A&B Containers, Encric and TDS.
With the all-out strikes set to begin this week it is expected that a severe shortage of pallets will quickly occur.
Unite regional officer Ian McCluskey said: “It is highly disappointing that Chep has refused to enter into any discussions or negotiations with Unite since the strikes began, in order to resolve this dispute.
“Unite believes that the dispute has already cost Chep more in disrupted and unfulfilled orders then it would have cost to make its workers a fair pay offer.
“This dispute could be easily resolved by Chep making a fair pay offer to its workers and entering into talks. The ball is firmly in the company’s court.”