Bifu members 'reject strike at Guardian'

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The Independent Online
THE threat of the first-ever strike by workers at Guardian, the insurance giant, appears to have been averted, writes Martin Flanagan.

A ballot of 4,300 workers at the company by the Banking Insurance and Finance Union closed yesterday with the result due today. Workers ranging from clerical workers to sales staff are being asked to support a series of strikes in support of a pay claim.

However, a Bifu source said: 'The message we are getting back from branch meetings is that most members are likely to have voted against strike action, but there is a sizeable minority in favour.

'It shows that there is considerable unrest in the company over this issue. The support for industrial action has not been piddling.'

Bifu's claim was for an across- the-board 6 per cent pay increase, with a minimum increase of pounds 450 a year. Guardian's management has offered a banded deal that it says would have added 4.8 per cent to its total wage bill.

A Guardian spokesman said: 'It meant many workers would have got an increase of over 4 per cent, and some would have got 2.75 per cent or slightly less.'

The nationwide ballot, which goes to independent scrutineers, is mainly concentrated in the South- east of England and at Guardian's three main offices in London, Ipswich and Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire.

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