Members of the trade union GMB who work at heavy building materials supplier Forterra, at its Thatcham site near Newbury, have voted to accept a deal which offers pay parity with staff based at Forterra’s Birmingham site.
Forterra’s management proposed the pay deal on 27 March 2019. GMB members at Newbury had undertaken strike action on 26 March 2019 to oppose pay disparity between operating locations. These employees voted to accept the new deal, cancelling further scheduled industrial action.
The pay deal will see GMB members working at Forterra’s Thatcham location receive an average pay increase of 12%, to create pay parity with staff based at the organisation’s Birmingham site. GMB states that the pay rise, delivered over a two-year period, will vary for different groups of employees, leading to pay increases between 6% and 24%.
The deal also confirms that overtime rates will remain the same, with three groups of employees receiving an increase in overtime pay of between 9% and 16%, to ensure pay parity with Birmingham employees.
GMB members based at Forterra’s Newbury site will receive 16 months of back pay in April 2019.
In December 2018, 100% of GMB’s members who are Forterra staff voted in favour of strike action; this was based on an 80% turnout rate.
Asia Allison, regional organiser at GMB, said: “We had hit a brick wall and a breakdown in negotiations and this left us with no other option than strike action. GMB members were entirely united in solidarity throughout this dispute and this was vital in forcing management’s hand. We have smashed the brick wall and the second day of strike [action] was called off.
“It is a very proud moment of being a GMB organiser to watch my [representatives] and members grow in such confidence, being so empowered and fully united in this pay dispute. Hopefully, as the Forterra management have finally implemented and honoured pay parity, there will be no future problems and we can enjoy harmonious industrial relations in the future.”