Communisis employees suspend strike as discussion commences over pay dispute

Digital printing

Strike action due to commence today (Tuesday 28 August 2018) and last for 48 hours has been put on hold, as digital printing organisation Communisis has agreed to enter into discussion over pay with employees who are members of trade union Unite.

Unite members voted 77.5% in favour of strike action and 77.8% in favour of action short of a strike. More than 90% of applicable members participated in the ballot, and approximately 79 employees were due to take part.

A spokesperson at Communisis explained: “The proposed strike action has been suspended as we continue dialogue towards a constructive agreement with the union.”

The dispute concerns an offer made by the organisation for an 8% pay increase, which was rejected by the union, but was imposed nonetheless. The three-year pay deal consists of a 2% increase in the first year, followed by a 3% pay rise in the second and third years. Unite stated that its members who work at Communisis refused the pay offer because the first yearly increase is below the rate of inflation.

Michael Tighe, north west legal manager at Unite, said: “The [organisation] needs to listen to our members who deserve better. Its decision to simply impose a pay award and declining to hold further meetings with the union is bad industrial practice and demonstrates that the employer is not listening to our members. Its actions also give rise to legal claims for which I have put the [organisation] on notice.

“Given the wish of our members to take industrial action, the [organisation] should look to resolve this dispute without further delay and without trying to circumvent the union.”

Unite members at Communisis have also proposed to strike for two days on Monday and Tuesday of each week for the next six weeks, with a continuous overtime ban for the duration of the industrial action. It remains to be seen whether this extended action will take place, now that discussions are underway.

Darren Barton, regional officer at Unite, added: “Our members have endured years of below inflation pay increases, which means that they have been becoming worse off year on year. Management needs to acknowledge this fact and table an improved increase.”