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World: Paint manufacture workers walk out over pay offer

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Staff working at a paint factory that supplies the UK have gone on strike over pay.

Staff have walked out at the paint factory in Stowmarket, Suffolk © Google Staff have walked out at the paint factory in Stowmarket, Suffolk

Some 80 members of the Unite union at Imperial Chemical in Stowmarket, Suffolk, which makes Dulux and other paints, stopped working on Wednesday.

A second strike has been proposed for 7 December. The staff involved are in a dispute over a 4.3% pay offer - below the rate of inflation.

Parent company AkzoNobel said its offer "represents the right balance".

AkzoNobel said this year's pay talks were being conducted in the "most difficult" economic circumstances.

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"The site faces relentless price rises for raw materials, utilities and maintenance parts and equipment.

"However, we also recognise that our colleagues are facing ongoing price rises in fuel bills, pump prices and general cost of living.

"That's why, in addition to the improved pay offer, we are providing all colleagues earning up to £44,200 a one-off payment of £605 to help with the cost of living."

The Stowmarket site manufactures Dulux paints and other brands © Reuters The Stowmarket site manufactures Dulux paints and other brands

Unite has described the pay offer and additional bonus as a "real terms pay cut", with UK inflation currently running almost three times higher.

Its general secretary Sharon Graham said: "This is an incredibly wealthy company whose desire to drive down workers' pay is being driven by greed, not need."

She called for AkzoNobel to "propose a fair deal".

Wednesday's strike began at 06:00 GMT and will run until 05:59 on Thursday.

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