Royal Mint workers vote to strike

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The Independent Online

Workers at the Royal Mint have voted to strike in a pay dispute, union leaders announced last night.

Workers at the coin manufacturer in Llantrisant, South Wales, backed action in protest at an offer they said was worth only 1 per cent, after a pay freeze last year. Union proposals for a 9 per cent pay offer over three years were rejected.

The Mint, a government agency founded in 1992, said it was "very disappointed" at the strike threat and maintained that its offer was worth at least 3 per cent.

Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus, said the offer was an "insult", especially because the chief executive was earning £125,000. "The company and its chief executive are coining it in but the workers who make the money are paid peanuts," he said.

The Royal Mint said the offer was worth 3 per cent plus £400 in year one, and 2.5 per cent plus £400 in year two. The £125,000 salary for the chief executive, Gerald Sheehan, had not been increased since the end of 2001, and he had not taken any additional performance pay or bonus, it added.

Mr Sheehan wrote to workers last night saying how disappointed he was at the 90 per cent support for a strike among the 500 workers balloted. The pay offer would be withdrawn if the strike went ahead, he warned.

A strike could begin as early as the middle of this month at the plant, employing 800, which makes coins and new coin presentation packs for collectors. The Royal Mint made record profits of £13m in 1999.