Production team plan regular strike action until Christmas over pay deal

Workers on the picket line outside engineering firm Premier Tech Aqua in Whitehouse Way, Peterlee.
Workers on the picket line outside engineering firm Premier Tech Aqua in Whitehouse Way, Peterlee.

Workers plan to go on strike for a week each month until Christmas following a dispute over pay.

GMB union members at Premier Tech Aqua on Peterlee’s South West Industrial Estate say they will take the action as they seek a deal from the company for a series of years to come.

Premier Tech Aqua in Whitehouse Way, Peterlee.

Premier Tech Aqua in Whitehouse Way, Peterlee.

They say they want a rethink on an offer of a raise of 5.4% for this year, but say that equates to 2.5% as the proposal is made up of consolidated agreements previously in place, as well as 50p on their hourly rate for the next three years.

The union adds the roles are often lowly paid and that efforts to discuss a proposal backed by both sides have fallen flat.

As a result, 23 men who are union members and part of the 45-strong production team at the septic tank manufacturer plan to strike for a week at the start of each month.

Mark Wilson, organiser with the union, said: “The negotiations have been going on for a number of months how and the company have not made a new offer and for a number of reasons this has been rejected.

They are saying enough is enough.

Mark Wilson

“It is lower than the aspirations that we have for the workers.

“The lads believe a week’s industrial action will show how much they want the company to take notice of their concerns.

“The decision has not been taken lightly.

“For the lads to go without a week’s pay is saying something to the company.

“They are saying enough is enough.

“We believe the company has a healthy order book and there is lots of work going through at the minute, when historically, it’s been a very up and down industry.

“What we hope is that they will get back around the table so we can resolve further disruption to production.”

He added production has stopped when the workers staged their first walk out earlier this month.

He said the pay deal takes into account an attendance allowance, which the union says was brought in years ago when the incentive was used to get staff to turn up for their shift and due to high sickness levels.

Premier Tech Aqua, previously known as Conder Products and based in Whitehouse Way, has been contacted for comment.