STAFF at a Renfrewshire leather company have walked out over a long-running pay dispute with bosses at the firm. 

Over 90 per cent of workers at NCT Leather, Bridge of Weir, rejected an offer of a 2.43 per cent wage increase in May, instead asking for 3 per cent.

However, Community Union representatives say chiefs at the firm implemented the offered increase anyway leading to the walkout by staff. 

The strike is expected to last three days with union bosses hopeful of reopening negotiations with bosses at the Scottish Leather Group - the parent company.

Steve Farrell, regional secretary of Community Union, told The Gazette: "We think a 3 per cent increase is a fair and reasonable demand in this economy.

"We tried to renegotiate with the company and ACAS, but the workers were left with no choice other than to ballot for industrial action.

"We are not that far apart in terms of what we want. The company has allowed the workers to go on strike and had the audacity to impose their 2.43 per cent raise."

Union bosses met with company chiefs and ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) to try to come to a solution before action took place. 

But, they were unable to reach an agreement before today's planned strike. 

Mr Farrell added: "We met in the spirit of hoping to reach a deal, but the company were unwilling to move.

The Gazette:

"The union have also made a counter offer, but there has been no movement from company bosses."

One worker, who asked not to be named, told The Gazette the dispute was over more than just pay.

The worker said: "It's not just the pay, but also the working environment in the factory that we are unhappy with.

"We are really just a number to bosses at the plant and we have had issues with pay and holidays for years.

"This is a peaceful strike and it about more than just the money." 

Workers at the NCT's sister company at Lang's Tannery, Paisley, are also striking for the second time. 

A spokesperson for Scottish Leather Group said: "We can confirm that some employees at W.J. & W. Lang Limited and NCT Leather are conducting a three day strike from Monday to Wednesday.

"Scottish Leather Group is disappointed that workers from both companies are taking this industrial action."