Interface rebuke claims by union leaders

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Craigavon carpet tile manufacturer Interface has strongly rebuked claims by union leaders following pay negotiations with its staff.

Interface described Unite’s claims about its annual pay rise offer as “misleading and untrue”, highlighting that the offer management has made to staff exceeds the latest consumer price inflation of 1.5%.

The international firm, which employs 128 fixed and 70 temporary employees in Craigavon and which has bases throughout Europe, the US and Asia Pacific, emphasised the investment it has made in the Craigavon area throughout its long-standing presence there.

An Interface spokesperson said: “Some of the comments made by Unite regarding our annual pay rise negotiations with staff are untrue and seriously misleading.

“The pay offer we have made is not tied to terms and conditions, as has been claimed. Interface has engaged fully with union representatives and made two offers, one of which includes no change whatsoever to the current attendance bonus. The alternative is an even higher annual pay rise offer which includes the modernisation of the present attendance bonus system which is outdated and non-existent across our other plants. This modernisation includes a significant improvement of the bonus pay-out potential.

“The offers we have made to staff are attractive and fair and both clearly exceed the latest consumer price inflation of 1.5%. It is misleading to set the pay offer we have made to Craigavon staff in the context of our Group profits, which are primarily created in the US or Asia Pacific where different trading conditions exist. Our Craigavon factory is autonomously funded through our European operations and does most of its business in the Euro zone, which is still an extremely difficult business environment. The Interface remuneration package continues to belong to the best in the market, which is reflected in the extremely low turnover of our employees and the very long service times.

“Interface is strongly committed to our Craigavon factory, to all our staff and to the local business community. We have invested heavily to grow business in the region, purchasing multi-million pound machinery and significantly growing the amount of staff employed. Any future investments are being seriously threatened by the culture of industrial unrest and regular threats of strike which has become a feature of Unite’s tactics in Craigavon – indeed, as a direct result of the threat of industrial action we were forced to divert £1.2m-worth of plant machinery which was intended for Craigavon to our base in Holland. We would urge our workforce in Craigavon to realise that any industrial action seriously impacts on our customers, will significantly damage the business and, ultimately, the staff themselves.”