BRIDGWATER Trades Union Council is calling for people to support the 65 union members due to picket their Trelleborg factory at Dunball this week.

Following a ballot, Unite members voted in favour of three days of strike action to force their employer back to the negotiating table following a row over pay.

The first strike is due to take place outside the Dunball factory on Tuesday, May 28, and pickets will be outside the plant from 6am to 10pm.

Other strikes are due to take place on Friday, May 31 and Wednesday, June 5.

Dave Chapple, Bridgwater TUC Secretary, said: "A first-ever factory strike is always an indication that something has gone radically wrong with the way a firm is being managed.

"There is no question that this factory is profitable, and there is no question that Trelleborg workers are highly productive.

"Therefore, why is there a big question over Trelleborg respecting Unite the Union, that represents the majority of workers, and conceding a pay rise they can easily afford?"

Mr Chapple highlighted that Trelleborg, and its previous incarnations as Wills Industrial Polymers and Wills Engineering, has a 100-year-history in Bridgwater.

"Bridgwater Trades Union Council calls upon all Bridgwater unionised workplaces to send delegations to the Unite the Union Trelleborg picket line next Tuesday," Mr Chapple said.

There will be a rally at 10am, addressed by Unite Regional secretary Steve Preddy.

A spokesman for Trelleborg said: "Trelleborg believe that our offer for a 2019 pay increase of 2.8% is fair, reasonable, and above inflation. We are sorry that the union intends to strike.

"The company is disappointed that the most recent talks were not successful, despite a range of constructive offers for discussion being tabled by Trelleborg. Nevertheless the company remains open to further discussions.

"Productivity has decreased in recent years at the Bridgwater factory, and increased factory output has been achieved through the addition of many jobs at the facility.

"Trelleborg believes that employees’ pay has kept pace with inflation over the last decade and that our rates of pay, employee benefits and working environment compare favourably with other employers in the area.

"The offer of a 2.8% increase, backdated to January 1st 2019, remains open.

"We hope that the union are willing to further discuss matters and that strike action can be averted."