WALK-OUT: Workers go on strike and picket brick works in dispute over holidays

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

THIRTEEN burners- or to give them their correct title environmental kiln operatives- have gone on strike at the Kings Dyke Brickworks, Whittlesey.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

THIRTEEN burners- or to give them their correct title environmental kiln operatives- have gone on strike at the Kings Dyke Brickworks, Whittlesey.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

The workers are angry at proposals by bosses of Hanson Building Products to reduce their number of holiday days from 25 to 21. They claim it is on top of a 20 per cent reduction in wages.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams.

Official Picket at Hanson Brickworks Kings Dyke Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

GMB regional organiser Rachelle Wilkins told Construction Index website that the holiday entitlements were agreed some years ago.

Kings Dyke Brickworks.

Kings Dyke Brickworks. - Credit: Archant

“This group of workers have to monitor the gas fuelled kilns continuously over a 24 hour period,” she said.

Kings Dyke Brickworks.

Kings Dyke Brickworks. - Credit: Archant


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“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.”

Kings Dyke Brickworks.

Kings Dyke Brickworks. - Credit: Archant

A spokesman for the striking burners said: “We believe that an agreement could have been reached at local level but relations with management are extremely strained.

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“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 representatives 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.”

A spokesman for the brick company defended their stance.

He said: “The new terms, which remain generous and are in line with industry standards, were agreed and accepted by the majority of the workforce who also accepted a one-off payment of £1,500 to compensate for any reduction in benefits.

“It is disappointing that, having accepted the compensation payment, a small section of the workforce has now changed their minds.”

Talks with ACAS took place in Whittlesey on Thursday without success.

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