Workers at Vista Therm, a glass manufacturer based at the Silverwood industrial estate in Lurgan took their first day of strike action today (Friday).
The strike paralysed production at the factory with non-union workers joining Unite members on the picket line.
On today’s picket line names of workers were noted and police were called out.
Police confirmed to Armagh I that they had been called to the scene but that no crime had been committed.
Unite the union has now lodged notice of a further two days of strike action next week – on Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21, and warned workers were likely to further escalate their action in the absence of any engagement by management.
The industrial action follows a unanimous vote for strike action (100%) due to the refusal of management to engage the trade union in pay negotiations.
Management have signalled that they no longer recognise the trade union despite a collective bargaining agreement existing within the workplace since 2007.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham warned the industrial action was likely to escalate.
“Today’s strike action has paralysed production at Vista Therm. The workforce are the secret of the success of this company but have been undervalued by management for years.
“They are determined to end that situation and to win both recognition of their trade union and a pay increase that offers some protection in the current cost of living crisis.
“Management at Vista Therm need to end their anti-union manoeuvres and attempts to intimidate their own employees. All they need to do to end this dispute is recognise our union and engage in pay negotiations that deliver for our members. In the absence of any such engagement, this strike will escalate.”
Message of solidarity from @UniteunionNI workers striking for union recognition/inflation+ pay rise at Vista Therm, to their @GlasgowUnite colleagues at #13thnote engaged in 1st bar workers strike in 2 decades. Your fight is our fight – workers united will never be defeated. pic.twitter.com/ugZ2P5xO4o
— Neil Moore (@NeilSoItIs) July 14, 2023
Regional Officer for the workforce is Neil Moore who said: “Workers have been forced onto the picket line by management’s bizarre refusal to engage with a long recognised trade union. Today we had police called to workers’ picket while they were exercising their basic human right to withhold their labour in a lawful dispute.
“The ballot of these workers returned a 100% vote for strike action; that tells you everything you need to know about the strength of feeling here – and indeed non-union workers joined the picket line in support today.
“Instead of management looking to take measures to try and intimidate their own employees and repress their rights – they need to sit down and engage with our union and negotiate a settlement that offers their workforce a pay increase and respect.”
Armagh I has approached Vista Therm for comment.