A chemical company which cancelled workers’ Christmas holidays after they voted for strike action has been branded a ‘Grinch’ by trade unionists.

Almost 100 GMB members at Thomas Swan in Consett have voted to take industrial action over a real terms pay cut. 

The company has now cancelled all pre-booked holidays over the Christmas period. 

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Laura Maughan, GMB organiser, said: “GMB members at Thomas Swan worked tirelessly through the pandemic, placing their loved ones at risk, in dedication to the company. 

“Instead of showing respect to their employees for their hard work, Thomas Swan has resorted to Grinch tactics, cancelling all prebooked holidays over the festive period. 

“This means workers will not be able to spend time with their loved ones, many of them have young children they will no longer see during the holidays.  

“Thomas Swan has stolen Christmas. 

“GMB urges Thomas Swan to negotiate and reach an amicable resolution.

“Our door remains open for such talks to take place to end this dispute.”

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A revised offer of 5.1 per cent, capped at £1,000, meaning the vast majority of the workforce would get even less, was rejected by union members.  

Five 24-hour strikes will take place on November 30, December 7, 14 and 21 and January 4. 

The Northern Echo: Thomas Swan near Consett Thomas Swan near Consett (Image: Northern Echo)

The company’s chief executive, Harry Swan, said: “The company has considered the impact on its operations of the potential overtime ban by GMB members and unfortunately, in those cases where pre-booked holidays need to be covered by another colleague working overtime, there may be no alternative than to cancel those holidays.

“However, the potential industrial action will not in any way affect the annual company shutdown over the Christmas and New Year period which will go ahead as normal.

“In the meantime, the company remains hopeful that a resolution, which would be fair and reasonable for all of those involved, can be achieved through constructive dialogue before any planned industrial action takes place.”

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