Union demands management ‘Open the Books’ to justify pay policy
May 13th: Unite workers at Belfast-based Antrim Carpets have commenced the first of eleven days’ strike actions planned following a failure by management to address their poverty pay concerns. Regional Officer, Sean Smyth, explained the situation:
“Aside from increments in the national minimum wage, workers at Antrim Carpets have not received a pay increase in seven years. Management are telling workers that they cannot afford to pay more but our members can take no more. Unite is demanding that management ‘open their books’ to workers to allow them to scrutinise the true situation.
“Workers at Antrim Carpets are earning less than 30% the industry norms for the sector. Those earning above the minimum wage have seen seven years of stagnation meaning the value of their wages has reduced in real terms by 18% over this period. Workers on minimum wage have only received the below inflation increments approved by the Westminster government. They can take no more.
“Today’s six hour stoppage is the first of a series of industrial actions by workers for improved pay. Every Wednesday for the next ten weeks workers will be taking 24-hour strike action to force management to deliver a real improvement in pay.
“Industrial action is a last resort for our members but they cannot go on living on poverty pay. We ask management to take action at even this late stage to address our members’ concerns and avert this damaging industrial action”, Mr Smyth concluded.