Double-glazing workers set to strike

LORNA MARSH Nearly 200 workers at a Norwich double-glazing manufacturer are ready to strike in support of a pay claim following a ballot yesterday over industrial action.

LORNA MARSH

Nearly 200 workers at a Norwich double-glazing manufacturer are ready to strike in support of a pay claim following a ballot yesterday over industrial action.

Anglian Home Improvements employs 1,000 people at its window factory at Liberator Road, Norwich.

Of those, 212 were balloted and 191 voted to take action over a 3½-year-long pay dispute.

Shop steward Gerry Webber, of the GMB union, said the dispute dated back to the introduction of a new unit which had taken longer to make than first estimated, affecting workers' piece-rate pay.

Mr Webber said Anglian Home Improvements had gone back on a promise to compensate workers for lost pay and they were now owed 3½ years of pay rises.

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However, the company said the ballot process was not undertaken correctly and both parties are waiting for the results of a high-court decision over the claim.

Any action would affect the teams working at Liberator Road and the production of windows.

Anglian Home Improvements said the employees wanted a piece-rate increase of 18pc for producing colour fabricated home- improvement products.

In a statement, it said: "The company accepts that coloured products take longer to manufacture than white products and introduced a differential a number of years ago.

Last year the company offered two further pay increases for coloured products. But both offers were rejected by the workers who are now planning strike action."

The company added that the UK double-glazing market was contracting by 5pc a year and that it could not increase the offer without jeopardising job security.

"We want to be fair to our employees but we cannot increase our offer again without it having an adverse effect on the company's performance and on job security," said Stig Hansen, managing director of Anglian's manufacturing division.

Anglian said its previous pay offers had been supported by shop stewards but rejected by the workers.

"I would ask our employees to draw back from strike action," added Mr Hansen.

"We have made a fair offer and I would hope that is recognised by the majority of our workers. These workers are stakeholders in this company. They have helped build a business with the best home-improvements products in the UK. I would appeal to them to protect their jobs and their futures by not going on strike," he said.