Raunds delivery drivers strike over pay

Workers who are striking include those who work at the Indesit UK depot in Warth Park Way, Raunds

Workers who are striking include those who work at the Indesit UK depot in Warth Park Way, Raunds

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The delivery of thousands of white goods, from fridge freezers to kettles, could be severely disrupted when more than 200 drivers and warehouse staff take industrial action today.

Workers who are striking include those who work at the Indesit UK depot in Warth Park Way, Raunds.

The ballot by members of Unite for strike action and industrial action short of a strike comes after years of below inflation pay awards.

Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said that the pay offer for the year starting January 2015 was 1.5 per cent, when at the time of the negotiations inflation was running at 1.7 per cent.

In 2014, the pay award was also 1.5 per cent, when the inflation rate was two per cent.

Unite members are also angry at the attack on their terms and conditions.

At present, if there were job losses, the redundancy pay is calculated at a guaranteed 45 hour week.

Now the company wants to reduce this to contracted hours of 37 or 40 a week, depending on individual employee contracts.

The drivers deliver freezers, fridge freezers, cookers, hobs, kettles and toasters directly to homes and trade outlets across the UK.

One employee said: “We are striking because of the lack of investment in people the company has continually demonstrated, with below-inflation pay rises in recent years.

“There will also be another 48-hour strike next Thursday and Friday and the following Tuesday if a settlement cannot be made.”

Mr Plumb said: “Our members are angry at the below inflation pay they have had to endure in recent years which has eroded their standard of living.

“Now the management is starting to attack their terms and conditions in regards to guaranteed redundancy payments.

“Basically, our members have said: ‘Enough is enough’ and are being balloted for industrial action, including strike action.

“As the drivers deliver more than 16,000 items of white goods each week across the UK, any industrial action could severely disrupt deliveries for Indesit customers.

“We urge the management to get around the table to negotiate a fair and equitable settlement for our members.”

The drivers, attendants and warehouse staff are based in Andover; Barnsley; Chepstow; Gateshead; Grangemouth; Hayes; Newtonabbey, Northern Ireland; Trafford Park, Manchester; Berkeley, Gloucestershire; Wednesbury and West Thurrock.

Nobody from Indesit, whose head office is based in Ancona province, Italy, was available to comment.