Happy Wade-ing

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Originally published on This is the Sentinel   By Peter Holmes

The long-running Wade's dispute could be settled in the next few days. 

A series of meetings at industrial peacemakers ACAS has led to an agreement are being put to union members today.

Workers at the three Wade Ceramics factories at Burslem have been holding a series of one and two day stoppages since January.

But Geoff Bagnall, general secretary of the pottery workers' union CATU believes the end of the dispute is in sight. He said: ''We have been involved in a series of meetings at ACAS and have reached an agreement which can be put to the members individually.

''This will be done over the next few days after which we will assess the response. Hopefully then the whole issue can be settled without the need for a further ballot. We cannot give specific details about the improved offer until all our members have been informed.''

The strikes began when around 740 employees claimed that new contracts they were being asked to sign would mean some of them losing up to £90 a week in shift payments.

But the company lost a court case in Manchester when it tried to get an injunction against the workers banning further strikes.

Wade's management remained silent over the dispute until after the court case when Edward Duke, chief executive of parent company Beauford plc, spoke out to allay workers' fears.

He said that out of 743 hourly-paid staff only 10 would lose the £90 a week claimed by the employees, while 346 would see a rise in their weekly pay and 198 would lose cash - on average £20 a week.

They would be compensated by being given a lump sum, which Mr Duke claimed was the only sticking point to a settlement. The company had offered 30 times their weekly loss as a one-off payment while the union was demanding 40 times the loss.

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