GMB Scotland Media Statement
For immediate release: Wednesday 19 August 2020
Strike threat looms as contractor pay row intensifies at North Ayrshire pharmaceutical giant
Maintenance contractors at the North Ayrshire pharmaceutical manufacturing giant DSM will move to a full industrial action ballot over a long-running pay dispute, sparking the threat of strike action later next month.
GMB members employed by Kaefer Industrial Services voted 100 per cent to proceed to a statutory ballot for strikes after management refused to raise pay in line with the National Joint Council for the Engineering and Construction Industry (NAECI) minimums, commonly known as “the blue book”.
The dispute has intensified after staff raised formal grievances after learning that scores of skilled trade contractors such as scaffolders and thermal insulation engineers are earning less than labourers employed on the same job at the Dalry site.
The Dutch health and nutrition multi-national is one of the world’s main producers of ascorbic acid / vitamin C and last year posted eye-watering operating profits of nearly €1 billion. The ballot is scheduled to start on Monday 31 August.
GMB Scotland Organiser Gary Cook: “It is deeply regrettable that DSM continually refuse to deliver the recognised industry minimum rates of pay for our members – the “blue book” minimums are a drop in the ocean to this firm.
“Our members have worked diligently throughout the recent lockdown period to ensure production and safe operations at the Dalry site and yet they are rewarded with a deeply divisive and unequal pay structure.
“DSM claim to “create brighter lives for all” but clearly this doesn’t extend to the recognition and value of our members and their families; rank hypocrisy and an abandonment of the basic standards we need if we are to build a post-COVID economic recovery.
“Industrial action is always a weapon of last resort but after months of fruitless talks we have been left with little choice but to commence a full ballot, which will almost certainly mean a strike next month.”
Contact: Gary Cook, GMB Scotland Organiser, on 07712 677 594.