Strike action at the Communisis cheque printing operation in Crewe has been called off after Unite members and management settled a dispute over pay.
Workers initially voted in favour of strike action in August after rejecting an offer of an 8% pay increase over three years (2% in the first year and 3% each in the subsequent two years), citing the fact that the initial 2% rise was below the rate of inflation.
The union balloted its members, who make up around 60% of the 126-strong workforce at Crewe, over strike action, with just over three quarters voting in favour. As a result, on 14 August, Unite announced a series of 48-hour strikes and an overtime ban over a six-week period starting on 28 August.
However, action was suspended on 24 August so that Unite members and Communisis representatives could re-engage in negotiations.
Following fresh talks, Unite confirmed today (20 September) that members have accepted an improved offer of a 9% pay rise over three years, comprising three successive years of 3% increases.
Unite regional officer Darren Barton said: “I am pleased that Communisis’ management were prepared to listen to members’ concerns and made an improved pay offer. Their actions meant that strike action and any disruption to the company’s work was avoided.
“Unite hopes that these negotiations will bring in a new era of co-operation and that the relationship with the company can now be developed and strengthened.”
Communisis customer experience managing director Dave Herridge said the outcome of the process had been “all positive” and that all parties had been “cooperative” when talks resumed.
“When the action was first announced it was a surprise to us because we thought negotiations were still ongoing,” he said. “It is good that this has been settled and I am happy that we can keep forging a relationship with our colleagues in Unite.
“The fact it is a three-year deal is good as this provides security for our staff and our clients and gives us the time to keep building on our relationships with the union to make sure that communications remain open and honest as representatives change over time.
“Communisis will always look to provide its client service as a number one priority and hopefully in the future we can continue to have positive relationships that do not put us in this position next time around.”