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Dispute Looms At Lucite Darwen Plant

Monday, September 21, 2015

Second Strike Ballot Looms At Lucite Darwen Chemicals Plant As Company Issues Redundancy Notices Impacting On 241 Workers

The workforce fears for the future of the Darwen site and with local management behaving like this their serious concerns are understandable says GMB.

GMB is to ballot members again for strike action after Lucite International issued an HR1 official notification of redundancy at their Darwen chemicals site. This was after attempts to bring in proposed higher hours through the back door via pay talks failed. 241 employees will be affected by this redundancy notice.

The company are proposing that the hours for manual workers would rise from 36 to 40 without any increase in pay. That amounts to an 11% cut in hourly pay.

This proposal was met by landslide vote for industrial action. In the ballot 93.4% voted for strike action and 96.2% for a work to rule which. This coincided with Unite members voting for action short of a strike.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said “Lucite International is playing 'Russian Roulette' with our member’s jobs. Both GMB and Unite are preparing to ballot members again to get a new mandate for escalated industrial action.

GMB and Unite have requested talks with Lucite International including ACAS.

The company have trying to attach savings of £300,000 onto the coat-tails of our members dressed up as 'manpower costs'. There is no mention of the mismanagement or the capital spending to put a production line in that has never run yet, or the excessive refurbishment on the sales department

The management attempted similar changes back in 2006, scare mongering that the 'ship was sinking', the workforce are one of the best in the area, always doing more and more when required. A workforce with strong trade union roots organisation and solidarity, to be simply told that their terms and conditions do not compare with those elsewhere.

The union side has always been willing to meet and discuss matters with a view to securing the longevity of this plant. All such attempts were met with a brick wall, the company has a one item agenda and the trade unions on behalf of its membership will not negotiate with a gun put to our member’s heads.

Local management reject several constructive proposals put forward by GMB and Unite that met the company's stated objectives. They offered no explanation, and what responses given are contradictory and confusing.

The workforce now fears for the future of the Darwen site and with local management behaving like this, you can understand their serious concerns!

GMB and Unite will be writing directly to the Board of the main shareholder Mitsubishi Rayon in Japan requesting they urgently intervene in this damaging and unnecessary prolonged dispute by Lucite International management.”


Contact: GMB National Officer Stuart Fegan on 020 7391 6762 or 07912 890434 or Karen Lewis on 07740 80 4048  or GMB Press Office 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823 

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