Threat of strike action at paint factory

WORKERS at a Suffolk paint factory were today threatening strike action over compulsory redundancies at the firm.Last ditch talks were being held between unions and ICI, in Needham Road, Stowmarket, today in a bid to avert industrial action.

WORKERS at a Suffolk paint factory were today threatening strike action over compulsory redundancies at the firm.

Last ditch talks were being held between unions and ICI, in Needham Road, Stowmarket, today in a bid to avert industrial action.

But a ballot of the 95 members of staff has revealed an overwhelming 93 per cent are prepared to vote with their feet.

The news was announced at a meeting yesterday and follows staff being told there would be six enforced redundancies at the Stowmarket operation.


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A further 20 employees, drawn from the Stowmarket and Slough sites, have already taken voluntary redundancy, while 66 others have been redeployed or left the company.

The job losses follow a worldwide restructuring of the firm's business, but workers in Stowmarket are furious about the way the redundancies have been dealt with.

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One man, who declined to be named, said people are "angry and demoralised" about the situation and prepared to strike.

"Everybody appreciates there are redundancies everywhere but there are people here who have volunteered to go but who have been turned down," he said.

"Some of them are within a year or two of retirement but the company has chosen others to be made redundant.

"Two of these particular fellas that have been chosen have probably got a good 15 years work left and that has really angered people. These two are also personally disliked by the bloke in charge."

He added uncertainty is now rife in the factory and said: "People are now wondering about the future of the rest of our jobs."

A spokesman for ICI could not guarantee the plant would never close but said it was not on the agenda at present.

He added: "ICI regrets that a series of meetings between the company and the trade unions have not achieved an agreement and that union members have voted in favour of industrial action.

"Meetings between the ICI management team, full-time officers and union representatives are continuing, and a management team is at Stowmarket today to continue discussions."

The multi-national company, which also has paint plants in Hull and Slough, is shedding 2,100 jobs worldwide from its 36,600-strong work force.

This is expected to save £100million per year, which is equivalent to around two per cent of ICI's sales.

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