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Your Kansas connection for the porcelain collectible line from Little Critterz

Originally published on This is the Sentinel  By Peter Holmes

The man at the helm of the owners of Wade Ceramics said he was committed to keeping the three factories operational and beating off foreign competition. 

Edward Duke is chief executive of Leeds-based Beauford PLC which bought the company several years ago.

He said: ''The current dispute is starting to hurt the business and we are struggling to get orders out in time for our customers.

''However, at present they are giving us their support but I do not believe that will last forever.''

He claimed the dispute centred on new contracts he wanted all 743 hourly-paid workers to accept.

These mean cutting the present 220 different wage rates down to just 12.

The overall effect would not change the firm's total wage bill but would mean the cash was better distributed.

The aim is to enable the firm to switch employees between different jobs depending on the level of orders.

Wade, which has three factories in Burslem, the company produces a wide range of different products.

These include both household and industrial products as well as components for other use in manufacturing processes.

Mr Duke said: ''Many of these products have peak sales at different times of the year and we want to build in flexibility to swap workers between different jobs depending on order levels.

''However, with some workers earning rates of pay of £330 a week this would make some of the products too expensive.

''This would mean our sales would be taken over by overseas competitors, mainly from the Far East.''

He said he believed passionately in British manufacturing and was upset to see so many products being imported when they should be made in Britain.

''When I was younger I cried at the end of the British motorcycle industry. It is so wrong the foreign competition is taking over British jobs,'' he said.

''The most important people in this country are the shop-floor workers who actually make the products which generate wealth.

''Here at Wade I believe we have a wonderful group of highly talented and skilled staff and I want to see them have a sound, solid future.

''The only way we can achieve that is to introduce the changes which are currently being resisted by CATU.''

Mr Duke claims that under the new proposals almost half the employees would see their wages rise but 198 would lose money.

He claimed just 10 workers would see their wages cut by the often-quoted £90 a week.

Last week the firm took CATU to the High Court in Manchester in a bid to gain an injunction against further strikes but, according to Mr Dukes it ''failed badly'' in its attempt. He said the sole aim of the action was to force a second ballot.

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