Trade Union Unite announced on Wednesday, May 21 that 170 members working for Optare at Sherburn in Elmet would start industrial action on Friday, May 23 over plans to introduce a two-week summer shutdown in August.
Unite says that 81% voted in favour of strike, while 88% voted for additional action short of strike action – an overtime ban which stated on Friday, May 23. Friday’s strike action started at 1200hrs when a continuous work to rule was put in place and that was to be followed by two 24-hour “dis-continuous stoppages” on Tuesday, May 27 and Monday, June 2. As CBW went to press, the strike action on June 2 looked set to go ahead, with Unite claiming that drivers delivering to the site were refusing to cross the picket line.
Richard Bedford, Unite Regional Officer, said: “Our members have previously enjoyed flexibility in their holiday entitlement but are now being forced to take annual leave in the high summer season when the average price of a summer holiday is a great deal higher. Many will simply be unable to take a break at this time in the season. For example, a four night stay at Woburn Forest Bedfordshire lodge accommodation is 51% higher in August than when off-peak.”
In a statement Optare said recent negotiations had not been able to prevent union led strike action. Talks between senior management and union representatives remain ongoing and it is hoped that a resolution can be found in due course.