CONTRACTORS at an Irvine pharmaceutical plant have resumed strike action today (Monday, February 6) as a dispute over bonus payments rumbles on.

Around 40 workers employed by Kaefer Limited in engineering construction roles at the GSK plant began the week-long industrial action at 7.30am this morning and it is due to end at the same time next Monday, February 13.

A previous round of strike action took place from January 9-23.

The current round of strike action is in addition to an existing discontinuous overtime ban which ends on April 2.

Trade union Unite claimed the industrial action "will directly impact on the maintenance of the plant", however, GSK previously told the Times they "don’t anticipate any impact on our manufacturing operations".

The dispute is based on Unite members seeking a bonus payment of £2.37 an hour, the maximum allowed under the relevant industrial agreement (National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry [NAECI]).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite stands fully behind our members taking a further round of strike action at the GSK-operated plant in Irvine.

“Kaefer is still refusing to award our members what they are entitled to under a UK-wide agreement.

"GSK, who are awash with profits is also standing idly by and permitting this situation to needlessly escalate.

"We will continue to support our members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions at the plant.”

The strike action involves electricians, scaffolders, cable pullers and labourers.

Unite industrial officer Paul Bennett added: “The new round of strike action which will last for a week is a reflection of the anger and disappointment our members feel at the way they are being treated.

"We are only asking for what our members are entitled to yet Kaefer seem determined to prolong this dispute rather than work with us to resolve it.

“Unite will not rule out further rounds of strike action because our members are determined to get what they are owed.”

A Kaefer spokesperson said: “We confirm that Kaefer employees contracted to work at the GSK Irvine site are taking industrial action.

"We support constructive dialogue between Unite the union and Kaefer to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

"We do not anticipate any impact on our manufacturing operations.”