Workers at the Royal Mint have voted to strike in a pay dispute.
Workers at the coin manufacturer in Llantrisant, South Wales, backed action in protest at an offer they said was worth only 1%, after a pay freeze last year. Management had rejected union proposals for a 9% pay offer over three years.
The Mint, a government agency founded in 1992, said it was "very disappointed" at the strike threat and maintained that its offer was worth at least 3% plus £400 in year one, and 2.5% plus £400 in year two.
Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus, said the offer was an "insult", especially when the chief executive was earning £125,000. "The company and its chief executive are coining it in, but the workers who make the money are paid peanuts," he said.
The company countered saying the £125,000 salary for the chief executive, Gerald Sheehan, had not increased since the end of 2001, and he had not taken any additional performance pay or bonus.
Sheehan has written to workers to say how disappointed he is at the 90% support for a strike among the 500 workers balloted. The pay offer will be withdrawn if the strike goes ahead, he has warned.
A strike could begin as early as the middle of October at the plant, employing 800, which makes coins and new coin presentation packs for collectors. The Royal Mint made record profits of £13m in 1999.