Striking workers at Survitec in Dunmurry determined to win an inflation-proof pay increase

Picket lines formed outside Survitec’s site from 6.45 am today in all-out strike by workforce

Unite the union members working at Survitec, a manufacturer of marine life-saving equipment, commenced an all-out strike for a cost of living pay increase this morning at 6.45am.

Workers have previously rejected a pay offer of 6 percent and are seeking a pay increase that meets the real cost of inflation. Over the last year the retail price inflation index, the best measure of rising costs facing workers, peaked at 14.6 percent in the worst cost of living crisis in generations. Workers voted unanimously (100 percent) on an 80% turnout for strike action.

Survitec has had a highly successful period with sales expanding rapidly by more than 130% over the last four years – rising from £45.1m to £103.8m as demand for life-saving equipment has increased since the pre-pandemic period. The workers’ pay claim in Dunmurry would cost just £860k or less than one percent of sales, which the workforce believe can easily be covered by the company.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham offered encouragement to the workers striking for an inflation-proof increase.

“The workers at Survitec voted unanimously for strike action to win an inflation-proof cost of living increase. This is a highly successful employer who can well afford to meet the workers’ pay claim in full – given that workforce costs represent only a small proportion of overall costs.

“It is simply not acceptable that employers expect workers to pay the price of the current cost of living crisis. Those taking strike action know that they have the full support of myself and Unite in their fight.”

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Survitec workers at Dunmurry to commence all out strike action on Thursday

Unite the union members vote 100% on a 80% turnout to take strike action after insulting 6% pay increase offer

All-out strike action of 160 workers at workplace will shut down production at manufacturer of lifeboats and sea safety equipment

Unite the union has confirmed that its members at Survitec in Dunmurry will commence all-out strike action from Thursday June 1st. The workforce are seeking an inflation-proof pay increase after they rejected as inadequate a 6% pay offer.

The strike is expected to shut down production at the site which manufactures emergency sea lifeboats and supplies. Demand for the survival technology produced by Survitec has surged post-Covid leaving the company operating at or close to full capacity.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham offered support to the workers ahead of the strike:

“The workforce at Survitec are highly skilled and deserve an inflation-proof pay increase.

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Secretary of State budget cuts threaten to devastate water quality and pose public health risk

Department for Infrastructure equality impact screening document countenances end of waste water cleansing and likelihood of sewers exploding into homes, businesses and onto public streets

Unite the union has condemned punitive budget cuts enforced by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, after a report emerged revealing that the Department for Infrastructure is actively considering a policy of ceasing wastewater treatment entirely.

In a preliminary equality impact assessment screening, the Department for Infrastructure assessed the impacts that would follow the cessation of waste water treatment by Northern Ireland Water. The report confirmed that it ‘would result in the discharge of screened raw sewage at coastal wastewater treatment works’ reducing the percentage of population served by compliant waste water treatment works to only 25%.

The policy would mean the pumping of wastewater to treatment works would cease resulting in ‘blockages in sewer networks and the likelihood of out of sewer flooding into homes and businesses and onto public streets’.

The policy consideration comes as a direct result of the budget set by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 27th April 2023. That left a £691 million (24%)  funding gap necessitating the Department for Infrastructure to consider ‘a number of unpalatable options’.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham blasted the austerity budget being enforced by Chris Heaton-Harris in Northern Ireland:

“The Secretary of State’s plan is clear. The people of Northern Ireland have to pay for the crisis. Workers paid for the last economic crisis in ten years of austerity. Not this time round. 

The fact that the Department for Infrastructure is actively considering imposing a move that would devastate water quality and breach statutory responsibilities demonstrates the total disregard the government have for this the most vital of public services. Unite will not stand by and watch this government dismantle local services, public health and the environment.”

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Workers hail ‘historic’ decision by Industrial Court to hear application for trade union recognition at Seagate

The Industrial Court has written to Unite to confirm that it will now proceed to hear the trade union’s application for collective bargaining recognition at Seagate. The decision marks a major step forward in the ongoing union drive at the Springtown-based manufacturer of read-write heads for hard drives which employs 1,600 onsite.

The development is the latest in the member-led union drive by the workers to win recognition for their union, Unite, in a campaign that has won the support of the local community as well as solidarity from across the wider trade union movement in Ireland the UK. The workers’ campaign has received additional impetus following last week’s announcement of plans for over one hundred redundancies at the site.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said,

“Today’s decision by the Industrial Court represents a vindication of efforts of workers and leaders at Seagate who have been to the fore in this campaign. Their determination to win collective bargaining rights is now on the way to what could be an historic win. They know that the best protection that any worker can have is to have a fighting union in their corner.”

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Unite the union in health issues warning over ‘inability to pay’ excuse

Statement by Permanent Secretary poses the threat of pay inequality for NHS workers in the NHS

Unite the union has said the statement from the permanent secretary regarding a lack of ability to pay any pay increase to health staff is unnecessarily provocative to health and social care workers ahead of the scheduled meeting with Trade unions and the Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris.

The comments raise the prospect of a return to pay inequality for NHS workers in Northern Ireland as compared to those elsewhere in the UK.

Kevin McAdam lead officer for health in Unite the union responded to the statement by the Department of Health Permanent Secretary.

“This statement does nothing apart from ramp up tensions within the workforce at a time when the permanent secretary is engaged in cuts to training places and other vital health provisions. 

“Unite the union will be meeting the Secretary of State on Thursday [25th May]. We will challenge him to deliver the Barnet consequentials arising from the England NHS pay deal in full and ensuring they are brought to the table in Northern Ireland. 

“Our members have resisted further strike action in order to allow space for talks but this statement leaves us with no other option but to prepare for further action. Our members will not and cannot accept a zero pay award.”

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