Workers at Wigan caravan firm Pemberton Park and Leisure Homes begin strike action
Staff at a Wigan caravan and holiday home firm have taken to “last resort” strike action for “fair” pay and working conditions.
More than 100 employees at Pemberton Park and Leisure Homes, on Woodhouse Lane, began strike action alongside GMB trades union on Wednesday, after voting to take industrial action.
It follows a dispute about pay and conditions, which has not been resolved after discussions between management and GMB.
Steven Whittle, GMB’s regional organiser, said: “The first thing I want to say is that none of these workers want to be here. Ultimately, they have been forced here by failed leadership for years and years. The firm’s gross profit has doubled since 2020 and dividends of £3.4m had been paid.
“There’s been bumped-up profits, bumped-up dividends and these people have worked all the way through Covid but have been given no fair share of the earnings. All they want is fair pay. They want to work in a safe environment. That’s all they’re asking for.
"The support we have had from the public has been absolutely fantastic.”
Shop steward Paul Cater, who has been with the company for almost 18 years, said: “We had the initial meeting where they offered us three per cent. It was unanimously rejected and then we had a massive upturning.
"They offered us three per cent plus £300 which also got unanimously rejected and since that they have offered us 4.4 per cent.
"We’ve asked for 10 per cent, which is pretty much in line with inflation. The company itself has had massive profits and they’ve paid out massive dividends. It’s been a long time coming I think, there’s been upset for a long time. As tradesmen these lads are paid significantly lower than other tradesmen, even in the local area.
“It’s the first strike I’ve ever been on in my life. We’ve seen so much support from passing people, ambulance workers, police and post office workers.”
Machine operator Keiron Boyd, who has been with the company for 10 years, said: “The union has been in negotiations for the last five or six weeks and the offers which they have been giving us aren’t in keeping with rising inflation and the cost of living.
"We were given the offer of 4.4 per cent, which we rejected, and this is why we are on strike today.
"We just want a fair pay rise, we’re not asking for the world. We are just hoping to end it all and get a fair pay offer. ”
Mr Whittle said: “We’ve improved health and safety going through this dispute already. There’s more things that we have to do though.
"They can’t book more than two days’ holiday a year as they have to take fixed holidays, which are in the summer holidays or the October holidays when it’s more expensive to go away. They’re not the highest paid workers, yet they’ve got to go on these fixed holidays.
"There’s also no sick pay, so if they have to go for an operation or have a long-term illness, they’ve got no pay for it. This has got to change as well.”
We contacted management at Pemberton Park and Leisure Homes and it is understood the company is expected to release a statement soon.