Birmingham engineering firm Darcast Crankshafts Ltd has agreed to enter Acas talks after the vast majority of its shop floor workforce voted to strike over low pay.
Unite, which has more than 70 members at the factory, said staff are ‘fed up to the back teeth’ at being paid a basic rate of £6.16 an hour that is topped up to the legal minimum through the use of shift allowances and so called ‘bonuses’.
Despite staff on occasion having to work up to 70 hour weeks in arduous conditions at the factory’s metal foundry to get by, Darcast has so far refused the workers’ request to increase their basic hourly rate to the national minimum wage (NMW) of £8.21.
Unite has slammed Darcast’s use of ‘bogus bonuses’ to give the impression it is possible for staff to earn a reasonable living on the current pay scheme.
A mandate for strike was issued after 96.9 per cent of the membership voted in favour of action in a ballot with a 91.5 per cent turnout.
After Unite notified the company that 24-hour strikes will be held on 25 February and 27 February, Darcast immediately agreed to talks with the union that will be mediated by the Acas conciliation service.
Unite regional officer Melvyn Palmer said, “It is positive news that Darcast has agreed to Acas talks so quickly.
“Our members do not want to strike without good reason, but will not back down until they are given a fair pay rise that reflects the arduous nature of their work.
“They are fed up to the back teeth of the low pay and bogus bonuses that keep them working long hours for very little return.
“We hope this dispute can be resolved through Acas, however if the company refuses to table a reasonable offer the planned strike action and resultant disruption to the business will go ahead.”