Whirlpool faces strike ballot

Repair of UK’s washing machines ‘in a spin’ as Whirlpool workers vote in strike ballot over ‘insulting’ pay

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The repair, installation and maintenance of the UK’s household appliances, such as washing machines, could be thrown ‘into a spin’ as staff employed by Whirlpool get ready to hold a strike ballot over an ‘insulting’ pay offer.

Unite the union is to ballot its members employed by the hugely profitable Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited, for strike action over a 2.5 per cent pay offer for the pay year starting January 1 2022 – a substantial real terms wage cut at a time when the RPI rate of inflation is at nine per cent. The ballot is due to commence in the next three weeks.

Unite members deliver, install and repair domestic appliances across the UK, dealing with three core brands –  Hotpoint, Indesit and Whirlpool. The appliances include cookers, refrigeration, tumble dryers and dishwashers. All of this work is managed through the contact centre based in Peterborough.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Whirlpool’s pay offer is a pay cut.  This is totally inexcusable from a business whose profits have rocketed by 250 per cent.

“Our members’ hard work generated Whirlpool’s vast profits so it is only right that they get their fair share of the pie.  Whirlpool needs to think again and return with a more acceptable offer or face strike action,” she added.

The Whirlpool annual accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020 reported profits before taxation up massively by 250 per cent to £12,040,000 from £4,808,000 in 2019.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch noted, “Our members are furious that their hard work has been met with this insulting pay offer.

“If the ballot result is for strike action, it will be mean the repairs, installation and maintenance of tens of thousands of household goods will be thrown into a spin, causing severe inconvenience to customers.”

There are delivery depots in Andover, Barnsley, Chepstow, Gateshead, Grangemouth, Hayes, Manchester, Mallusk (Northern Ireland), Raunds (Northamptonshire) and Wednesbury (West Midlands). The service engineers are based nationwide.

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards.

By Shaun Noble

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