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Brick Works Strike Over Holiday Cuts

Friday, April 5, 2013

GMB Members Begin 6 Weeks Continuous Strike Action On Monday 8th April At Hanson Brick In Peterborough Over Cut In Number Of Days Holiday.

Using untrained workers, in place of the strikers, means they would not recognize if something is going wrong which could have disastrous consequences for the plant, the environment and the local community says GMB.

GMB members employed as Environmental Kiln Operatives (Burners) at Hanson Brick in Whittlesey in Peterborough will begin six weeks continuous strike action on Monday 8th April. The dispute arises because their employer has reneged on an agreement for the Burners to maintain a 33 day annual holiday entitlement which is part of the agreed work pattern for these essential workers. There are 200 employees in this brick works.

Rachelle Wilkins, GMB Regional Organiser, said “The holiday entitlement for the Burners was agreed between the company and trade unions years ago.  This group of workers have to monitor the gas fuelled kilns continuously over a 24 hour period.  They work 12 hour shifts and cover all bank holidays. As part of a reorganisation of shift patterns and terms & conditions in 2011, it was agreed on two separate occasions with management that the Burners would not reduce down to 29 days holiday with the rest of the workforce but would keep their 33 days in recognition of the unique role they undertake at the plant.

Management have behaved in an appalling and extremely unprofessional manner by reneging on a deal for the Burners.  We have tried to resolve this by every avenue possible with local management, including negotiations with ACAS which took place in Whittlesey on Thursday 4th April.  This group now feel they have no other option but to take strike action from Monday 8th April.

We have serious concerns that Hanson local management are considering using untrained workers to operate the kilns, workers who have not performed the role for a considerable length of time and have not had any refresher training.  The consequences if these workers were pressured by the company to perform this role and not recognizing if something had gone wrong could be disastrous for the plant, the environment and the local community.

We are urging the company to take their commitment to the Environment Agency, their health & safety obligations as an employer to their employees and the local community seriously.

GMB and Unite are still willing to sit down and discuss a sensible and realistic solution to the Burners holiday issue by recommencing discussions at any time."


Contact: Rachelle Wilkins, GMB Regional Organiser, on 01733 344418 or mobile 07966 327970.  GMB Press Office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823



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