Sunderland printers step up strike action in pay row

Unite members from Paragon Printing in Pallion Industrial Estate strike over changes to terms and conditions.
Unite members from Paragon Printing in Pallion Industrial Estate strike over changes to terms and conditions.
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STAFF at a Sunderland print works are escalating their industrial action in a row over pay and conditions.

Thirty-seven members of the Unite union have been taking strike action at Paragon UK’s headquarters, at Pallion Industrial Estate.

Since earlier this month, workers have been walking out on two 24-hour stoppages a week.

But next week they will stage the first 48-hour stoppage, downing tools between 7pm tomorrow and Thursday.

Union members say they have not had a pay rise for the last seven years, and now face losing more than £100 a month under new contract terms being introduced at the plant.

Unite spokesman Steve Cason said the union had been pleased with the support from the public.

“We have had a lot of sympathy from the drivers,” he said.

“We are just asking people not to go into the site – there has been no animosity. Of course, everybody is under pressure from their own companies, but they are all voicing their support for us.

“Paragon’s corporate responsibilty policy says they respect industrial relations and promote workers’ participation through consultation – that seems to have broken down.”

A Paragon UK spokesman said: “We can confirm that following a 90-day consultation period regarding the terms and conditions of current contracts, the union members based at our Sunderland manufacturing facility have chosen to take industrial action.

“We are still in discussion and have no further comment to make on the matter at this stage.”

He added: “While negotiations are ongoing, our commitment is to meeting with the requirements of our customers to ensure that we continue to deliver the level of service they have come to know and expect from the business.”

Paragon prints a wide range of products at its Pallion plant, including brochures, labels and marketing material.

The firm also offers specialised print services such as security sensitive documents, personalisation, and data management.

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