Hartlepool workers take strike action in dispute over pay rise

Staff at a Hartlepool company are taking strike action over a pay dispute.

Almost 30 workers from Bridgman IBC took to the picket line after an agreement on pay negotiations could not be reached.

Bridgman IBC Ltd strike action over pay. Front, Mark Wilson GMB

Bridgman IBC Ltd strike action over pay. Front, Mark Wilson GMB

The 29 members of the GMB claim they are not being offered enough of a pay rise.

But, the company believes the offer is a significant one and the workers are making ‘unreasonable demands’.

Mark Wilson, a regional GMB officer, said: “The company have imposed a pay deal onto wages, which hasn’t been agreed.

“So our members balloted to take industrial action.”

This problem has been backing up for a number of years

Mark Wilson

He said the workers took to the picket line on Friday morning and plan another day of strike action on Tuesday if bosses at the Greatham Street company do not return to negotiations.

Mark said the company has offered the workers a 3.4% increase this year, however, he said they used to get paid bonuses which were stopped, so this is not extra money.

He said: “This is a problem that has been backing up for a number of years. Workers have had just a 70p an hour rise over the last ten years.”

And, negotiations over the latest pay dispute have been going on for a few months.

Bridgman IBC Ltd strike action over pay. Mark Wilson GMB

Bridgman IBC Ltd strike action over pay. Mark Wilson GMB

Mark said the union wants the company, which is based on the Longhill Industrial Estate, to address this pay issue and give a commitment to improve things in the future.

Bridgman IBC, which manufactures specialised doors, employs 70 people at the Hartlepool factory.

A spokesman for the company said: “In March we offered all hourly paid employees a 10% pay increase over a three-year period. This offer was rejected by the union to the disappointment of management.

“We met with the GMB last week and offered a final opportunity to avoid further dispute. The final offer was the original offer with the re-introduction of a profit bonus scheme and an enhanced attendance bonus.

Mark Wilson.

Mark Wilson.

“Unfortunately the GMB advised us that its membership rejected this final offer.

“We are now in a situation where the dispute is likely to involve industrial action. This is an extremely disappointing situation.

“As a small to medium sized business we feel that the offer we have made is a significant offer, and in excess of what is being offered regionally and nationally and we are disappointed that a minority of our employees are seeking to hold the business to ransom over unreasonable demands.”