Paragon CC Notts strike action suspended as talks resume

By Rhys Handley, Friday 30 November 2018

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Strike action over a pay dispute at Paragon CC’s Nottingham site has been put on hold as Unite members re-enter negotiations with management.

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Walters: grateful for Unite's "pragmatic" approach

On Wednesday, the union announced that 78% of its membership at the plant in Sutton-in-Ashfield had voted in favour of strike action after Paragon CC offered a pay rise of 1% for the year starting November 2018 after protests at the decision to offer no pay rise.

A statement from Unite today (30 November) said that “pay talks are taking place” now between the two parties and any strike action would be put on hold.

Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel said: “We are looking forward to a speedy resolution to this dispute, so we can move forward in a positive fashion with the company in the future, for the benefit of all.”

The union said it would offer no further comment at this time, though regional officer Larry McGlinchey said he was “pleased that constructive talks are now taking place”.

PrintWeek understands from Paragon CC’s numbers that around 300 people work on the Nottingham site and approximately 100 constitute the Unite members. Unite’s own figures place the headcount at 260 staff with union members making up around half.

According to Paragon CC chief executive Jeremy Walters, talks with the firm’s Nottingham chapel members had been ongoing even as strike action was voted upon.

He said: “We are and have always been very keen to resolve this matter in a way that is in the best interest for all our people and our customers. We are grateful for this pragmatic approach from Unite and its members.

“Any agreement reached with Unite will be for all of our people whether they are union or not, and whether they are Nottingham-based or not. We will continue on our path of fairness for all 1,900 people at Paragon CC.

“We always like to discuss any matters of concern with the union and our work councils and are very grateful for the level of support from our clients. We will continue to reassure them that there will be no disruption to the services they receive from us.”

As part of ongoing negotiations over pay, Walters said on Wednesday that his team had introduced a death-in-service benefit, sick pay support and contributions to the apprenticeship levy on top of the proposed pay rise. He quantified a group-wide 1% pay rise as representing “approximately £750,000” in investment for Paragon CC.

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