Ulster carpets’ Managing Director Nick Coburn CBE challenged on his refusal to back date pay deal costing each worker £700.
Despite the sharp Covid downturn, Ulster Carpets Holdings Ltd continued to enjoy success and rack up the profits. In 2021 the Holdings company turns a pre-tax profit of more than £1.3 million and the top line of the highest paid director was more than £326k.
But in recent pay negotiations management refused to backdate the proposed pay increase to the annual pay date [May]. As a result Unite is now moving a strike ballot of its members in Ulster Carpets.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham, offered her union’s wholehearted support of the workforce:
“This manoeuvre by bosses is designed to deny workers at Ulster Carpets on average £700 each. By refusing to back date the deal the management are clearly ‘moving the goalposts’ of the negotiation. That’s not ‘good faith’ negotiating. Unite is fighting for the jobs pay and conditions of its members and make no mistake will back the Ulster Carpets workers in their fight for a proper pay deal”.
Ulster Carpets’ Managing Director Nick Coburn CBE is a prominent business champion in Northern Ireland. At a recent [Irish government] Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade sponsored Centre for Democracy and Peace Building Fellowship meeting, attended by Kate Nicholl the Lord Mayor of Belfast, he claimed that ‘we don’t see Ulster Carpets as just a business but part of the fabric of our community’.
Unite regional officer, Sean McKeever, challenged Mr Coburn on the gap between those words and the arch-capitalist approach his business was taking to their own workforce.
“Mr Nick Coburn CBE appears to enjoy the limelight presenting himself as a progressive employer. Sadly the reality is that there is a gaping chasm between his words in public forums and the arch-capitalist way in which his company treats its own workers.
“Management’s refusal to extend a proposed pay increase to the beginning of the negotiation date is just mean and it doesn’t sit too well with words about a business being part of the fabric of our society. Unite will not stand for this insult to the workers. We are now proceeding to ballot on all-out strike action at Ulster Carpets to secure pay justice for our members”, Mr McKeever finished.