Printers back BPIF's opposition to 'unaffordable' pay demands
By Simon Nias Friday, 27 February 2009
Printers have come out in support of the BPIF after it described Unite's National Agreement wage demands as irresponsible and unaffordable following a breakdown in negotiations between the two organisations.
The National Agreement pay review is negotiated annually by the BPIF and Unite, resulting in a proposed pay increase for each of the three classes of workers in the print industry.
However, this year’s review resulted in a stalemate after Unite refused to budge from it’s minimum proposed settlement of £5 per week, which was over 270% higher than the BPIF-proposed £1.84 per week for Class 1 workers.
Dave Emeny, managing director of Wyndeham Press Group, which successfully negotiated changes to terms and conditions and salaries with its staff in the face of union opposition in December 2008, said: Clearly any wage increase this year is unaffordable.
Catherine Hearn, Polestar group operations director, added: If there is a choice to keep people in work with a zero-percent wage increase rather than make more redudancies, we would prefer a zero increase. This was our input to the BPIF prior to the negotiations.
It was not just the big printers who were critical of pay rises this year, as Lick Group, winner of PrintWeek’s SME Company of the Year award in 2008, revealed that it had asked staff to forego pay rises for the coming year.
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said that the union was very disappointed not to have reached an agreement for 2009.
We advised the BPIF that their final offer of £1.84 was just not realistic and could not be put to ballot, he said.
£1.84, for full cost recovery, and a strong inability to pay clause is hardly fair and reasonable.
However, BPIF corporate affairs director Andrew Brown said he believed the BPIF stance was in fact both fair and reasonable in the current climate.
Burke hit back, claiming that not all print companies are struggling and that a blanket pay freeze was unacceptable.
He said: During the negotiations with the BPIF we made it clear that we were seeking a fair and reasonable settlement, based on the knowledge that some companies would find it difficult this year.
However, we were not prepared to accept a blanket pay freeze or a derisory offer that was conditional on our members accepting full cost recovery and a strong inability to pay clause.
It's not our policy to negotiate with employers through the columns of the media and we will be consulting with our full time officers next week, our national sector commitee and our lay reps before we take any further steps. This is the right way to do things.
"Blanket pay freezes will not resolve the problems that the industry faces and Unite has been concerned that while we understand some companies are facing difficulties, others can afford to pay a fair and reasonable settlement and we suspect that some companies are, quite frankly, trying it on."
Latest jobs Jobs web feed
- New Business Development Manager Key Recruitment Upto £60k dep on exp, London
- Senior Account Manager (POS/Retail) Pyramid Consultancy Ltd £35000 - £39000 + benefits, Central London
- Print / Direct Mail - West Midlands asg £60,000 + Bonus + Benefits, West Midlands
- Large Format Digital Printer | Digital Print & POS | Cambridgeshire Mercury Search and Selection £16k-£22k + OT + excellent benefits package & 20 days' holiday allowance, Cambridgeshire
- Client Services Director - UK asg Up to £110,000 + bonus, car & executive benefits, UK