Workers at a globally successful firm based in Co Armagh are picketing during a 24 hour strike today.
It is being taken by production workers at international company Glen Dimplex.
Organised by the union Unite, the strike began at midnight and it is part of industrial action voted for by staff who want to be paid a Living Wage.
Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald said: “Today’s strike action has been forced by the failure of management to meet the modest demand of their workforce for a minimum of £8.75 an hour – the bare minimum for workers’ subsistence determined by the independent, UK-based Living Wage Foundation.
“Unfortunately the majority of the workers at Glen Dimplex at Portadown, who manufacture ‘quantum intelligent’ storage heaters, are paid an hourly rate significantly less than this threshold. The fact that bosses are refusing to sign up to paying these experienced production workers this rate is completely unacceptable.
“In a recent ballot taken in response to management intransigence, workers voted with a majority of 85.7% for strike action on a turnout of 89%. This was an overwhelming and unprecedented mandate for strike action to put an end to in-work poverty at the plant.
“The workers receive a small weekly bonus for working over and above the 100% rate and they have actually offered to incorporate part of this bonus into the hourly rate of pay in order to self finance the living wage rate. As a result of this commitment from the workers, management would only have to provide an increase of just 3% to avoid this unnecessary dispute.
“Glen Dimplex is a highly successful group with an increasingly global footprint. Their latest published accounts show profits of €38 million on turnover of just below a billion euro. This is a company that can well afford to meet the workforce demand for a Living Wage. Indeed, while workers in Portadown are being told that the company can’t afford to pay £8.75 an hour, the accounts confirm that they managed to find €13 million to pay a dividend to shareholders last year.”
Craigavon Council of Trade Unions has also called for Glen Dimplex Portadown, to pay its workers a Real Living Wage.
Speaking from the picket line, Trades Council President Roger Clifford said: “Following a recent ballot taken workers voted with by a significant majority for strike action and this was an overwhelming and unprecedented mandate to put an end to in-work poverty at the factory. Glen Dimplex is a highly successful.”