Three workers strike for extra pay at Niche

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Derry Trades Union Council has backed an ongoing strike by workers at Waterside drinks manufacturer Niche Drinks and called on management to deliver an inflation-linked wage rise.

However, in a statement, the firm’s managing director, Ciaran Mulgrew, claimed the strike did not have widespread support on the shop floor.

DTUC Chair Liam Gallagher said five members of the Unite union voted to strike over a two per cent pay offer, which they rejected as inadequate in light of inflation riding at close to three per cent.

Mr. Gallagher said the workers were being paid just £7.74 per hour, which, he said, was just marginally above the current £7.50 minimum wage for over 25s.

It’s less than the £7.83 minimum wage, which will be introduced in the North in April, he added.

“DTUC fully supports the action of the workers involved in this strike action,” said Mr. Gallagher.

“Niche are paying just 24 pence above the minimum wage. Given that inflation is currently running at three per cent, these workers are struggling to make ends meet.

“Strike action is fully justified and we would call on management to accept what most progressive companies have accepted, that the living wage, which will inevitably come into force, is a far better way of treating workers decently and will, in the end, improve productivity, which will benefit everyone.”

Mr. Mulgrew, in a statement, said the Unite members involved were in a minority among staff at the cream liqueur operation.

“Niche Drunks can confirm that in December 2017 five members of staff out of a workforce of 76 voted to take industrial action in support of a wage claim. Of these five employees, three have now embarked upon strike action while the rest of the workforce continues to work as normal which we appreciate.

“Production has not been impacted and we do not envisage any issues with deliveries,” he stated.