This is what bosses at Wigan caravan firm Pemberton Park and Leisure Homes Ltd have to say about staff going on strike
Bosses at a Wigan caravan firm where staff are striking over pay and conditions say they have “acted fairly and in the best interests of all of its employees”.
More than 100 members of staff from Pemberton Park and Leisure Homes Ltd have been on the picket line for a second day today.
They are demanding a pay rise, sick pay and changes to the firm’s system for booking holidays.
The firm’s management broke their silence by sending a statement to Wigan Today detailing their side of the dispute.
They say the company has faced “significant challenges” over the past three years and they have made efforts to “shield” workers’ pay.
They also state the holiday entitlement offered by the firm is “industry leading”.
The full statement says: “Pemberton have co-operated fully in negotiations which have taken place over the last four months, concluding in the offer of a pay rise of 4.4 per cent.
"Reference to pay data from 2,000 union collective agreements, including the GMB, shows that a 4.4 per cent increase is within the top 75th percentile of pay rises agreed.
"ONS data on regional pay rises referenced at the time also showed that the company’s offer exceeded the majority of pay deals being agreed in this category.
“Despite the union confirming that it was a good offer, it was rejected by union members who then voted to strike.
“After informing all employees and the union, the company has since paid the 4.4 per cent increase, including back-pay, in time for the company’s annual summer holiday.
“Whilst acknowledging employees’ legal right to strike, the company believes it has acted fairly and in the best interests of all of its employees.
“Pemberton and our industry have faced significant challenges over the last three years (2019-2021) with Covid, forced factory closures, severe disruption in essential material supplies and customer deliveries.
“Nevertheless, throughout the whole of that period the company has managed to effectively shield workers’ pay from these impacts and staff have benefited from annual pay increases in those three years, when much of the wider workforce have been subjected to pay freezes.
“During the last four years Pemberton incurred significant losses during Covid, when all factory workers were retained on full furlough pay during the months of factory closure.
“Pemberton also used funds to repay £5m in borrowings the company was forced to take on in the downturn.
“Furthermore, in these last four years company leadership chose to invest over £8.2m in capital equipment and working capital and have increased the total net investment in the company by over £7.6m.
“It is normal for a company to return a dividend to shareholders each year. However, in the last four years Pemberton has prudently paid only one dividend during the whole period.
“Pemberton takes health and safety matters seriously and always have done.
“Pemberton already provides industry leading holiday entitlement to staff, the union have always agreed that this is the case.
“Pemberton has been a consistent employer within the local community of Wigan for over 75 years and will continue to treat employees fairly as the company strives to grow back following these challenging times.”
Staff and trade union GMB have not responded to the statement, but are already considering another day of strike action next week.