Unite workers at Co Armagh manufacturing firm Vista Therm are currently undertaking a 24-hour strike.
Employees at the specialist glass manufacturer, based at Silverwood Business Park, Lurgan began the walkout at midnight and carried out a picket outside the workplace from 7am to 8.30am this morning. Another establish picket is to be held between 3pm and 4.30pm.
The latest action occurs after the union’s membership voted with a 97% majority for strike action over management union-busting activities.
Unite claims that during the previous period of strike action, management dismissed two young workers and suspended another two, including a Unite shop steward.
The Vista Therm workforce overwhelmingly comprises foreign nationals including a large majority of workers whose first language is Polish or Ukrainian. The industrial dispute represents a touchstone case for the wider exploitation of foreign national workers.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Vista Therm workers are at the cutting edge of the fight to improve working conditions for foreign-national workers in Northern Ireland. The fact that this employer has engaged in brutal union-busting tactics will be challenged and defeated.
“The Vista Therm workers are to be commended for their commitment to defending their union and themselves. They can count on the full and continuing support of Unite in their fight.”
Vista Therm is owned by Carey Glass, of Nenagh Co. Tipperary, but unlike the factory in the Republic, the parent company continues to refuse to recognise Unite in Craigavon.
Our @UniteunionNI members at #VistaTherm are back out on strike in #Lurgan today in response to the sacking of two young workers participating in strike action and the now 3 month long continued suspension of their shop steward and another colleague. 1/ pic.twitter.com/uUkAauoeFX
— Neil Moore (@NeilSoItIs) November 6, 2023
Unite Regional Officer Neil Moore said: “Workers are questioning why it is that Vista Therm’s parent company in the south recognise the workforce’s union but, in the north, management have sought to de-recognise the union and then to dismiss and suspend trade unionists and union reps in what are overt union-busting tactics.
“The Vista Therm workers are commencing a new wave of industrial action with this 24-hour strike in response to these union-busting tactics. We are demanding the reinstatement of the workers and that the trumped-up charges be dropped. This fight deserves the solidarity of every worker and anyone who cares about equality; our members are determined to win respect and basic dignity from this employer.”
Armagh I has contacted Carey Glass for comment.