Nortel pay strike fails to disrupt Middle East channel

Pay dispute triggered strike action among Nortel workers at the company’s EMEA supply chain.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  August 21, 2008

A pay dispute that triggered strike action among Nortel workers at the company’s EMEA supply chain hub this week has not disrupted shipments to the Middle East.

Around 150 shop floor workers and technicians staged a half-day stoppage earlier this week following a stand-off with management over the size of a wage increase. Nortel employees that belong to Unite, the trade union which organised the strike, are reported to be planning similar action every Monday afternoon until an agreement is reached.

The facility, which is based in Northern Ireland and employs more than 600 people, serves as the networking vendor’s supply chain centre for the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Authorised distribution partners contacted by Channel Middle East reported no interruptions to deliveries, although at least one said it was still too early to assess the situation because it had not placed any orders since the strike occurred.

Venkat Subramaniam, commercial and operations manager at Dubai-based Nortel distributor OnLine Distribution, confirmed the company receives its product consignments from the Northern Ireland facility, but insisted it was business as usual. “We have not experienced any delays on shipments coming through,” he said.

Hassan Hamadani, Middle East marketing manager at Nortel, was unaware of the strike action, but maintained there was no reason to believe that it would affect shipments into the regional channel. “If anything was up I would have heard something so obviously this is not affecting us in any way,” he said.

According to reports, Nortel staff employed at the supply chain facility are trying to gain a pay rise of 4.6%, which they claim is in line with inflation. However, Nortel is understood to have only offered 3.75%.

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