A burning issue at Hanson Brick

HansonsPlease read the following request for support for a strike by Unite members in Peterborough.

On Monday 8 April, 13 burners at the Kings Dyke Works in Whittlesey, Peterborough will start continuous all-out industrial action in protest against their holiday being reduced by four 12-hour shifts per year.

They will be on strike from midnight on Sunday the 7th of April, picketline will be at the entrance to the brick works on the Kings Dyke Road (PE7 1PD) . Important times to visit are between 6-7am and 6-7pm as the shifts change.

Several years ago the burners had a choice of either a higher wage or an extra four shifts’ holiday, and they chose the holiday. Their working week is longer than that of the other workers because burning is a continuous process – they work 12 hour shifts as opposed to the 11 hours worked by everyone else – and the additional holiday compensated for this.

The cut in holidays comes on top of a 20% reduction in wages. The pay, which is an issue for the whole workforce, has nothing to do with the failure to agree on holidays as, quite frankly, the rest of the workforce have recently changed to 24/7 shifts whereas the burners have been working these hours for many years.

Burning is a unique skill and we are confident that management will be unable to cover the work of these 13 burners. And because their work is critical to the site operation, we anticipate that work will quickly grind to a standstill once the strike begins.

We believe that an agreement could have been reached at local level but relations with management are extremely strained. We have made every attempt to resolve this dispute, including the offer of ACAS mediation but, for some reason, the company appears to want a fight. We draw this conclusion from other recent actions – trying to reduce the number of union reps and withdrawing facility time.

Clearly this is a battle we must win against a now multinational business intent on breaking not only the burners’ resolve but the rest of our 180 Hanson members who have several other issues arising from the agreement reached last year.

Please send messages of support to the senior steward Stan Dow at stanley.dow@ntlworld.com or to 41 Inhams Road, Whittlesey, Peterborough PE7 1TT. Cheques, made payable to ‘UNITE THE UNION 8/10/738 Branch’ should also be sent to this address.

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