Unite members working on contracts by Magna Exteriors (Liverpool) Limited at the Halewood and Ellesmere Port sites have begun balloting for strike action and an overtime ban this week in a dispute over pay and terms and conditions.
About 270 workers, including paint technicians, forklift drivers and process operators at the two sites, are balloting for strike action following proposals by the company to slash pay rates and erode workers’ terms and conditions. The company wants the union to agree to a deal that would freeze pay for two years and involve the axing of shift premiums, which Unite believes is worth 16 and 23 per cent of workers’ wages at Halewood and Ellesmere Port respectively.
The workforce believe they deserve a fairer share of the profits they helped deliver. The latest financial statement showed an increase in pre-tax profit from £989,000 to £6m and an increase in profit per employee from £2,466 in 2015 to £15,539 in 2016.
The ballot will close on Friday, May 25. If members vote in favour of strike action then walk outs could begin from end of June which could have an adverse impact on the production of exterior body panels and potentially disrupt car manufacturers, such as Nissan, Vauxhall and Bentley Motors warns Unite.
Unite is calling for Magna management to engage in urgent and constructive talks in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
“Industrial action is, and always will be an absolute last resort for Unite,” said Unite regional officer Steven Gerrard. “Yet our members are not prepared to allow the company to attack their pay with the slash and burn policy it seems intent on doing.
“Our members deserve better. Company profits are up. And it is the hard work of our members that has made the company so profitable.
“Despite failed talks with the company to reach a breakthrough, and the union presenting at the request of the employer its counter proposals which were all dismissed by management, we now have no other choice but to ballot our members.
“Unite will remain committed to negotiations up to and beyond the ballot in the hope that an agreement can be reached to avoid our members taking action.
“We urge Magna management to engage with the union for those urgent discussions to take place.”