Workers at a leading crane manufacturer in Sunderland will be starting a series of strikes tonight (August 9) in a dispute over an ‘inadequate’ pay offer.
The workforce at the Liebherr Sunderland Works will strike from 7.59pm tonight until 11.59pm tomorrow (August 10). Unite members will stage an official picket line at the site tomorrow.
The action follows talks with the company yesterday (August 8) which broke down after the management made a revised offer that was worse than the original package the workforce had turned down.
Unite, which represents 30 skilled crane assemblers, will be coordinating the industrial action with the GMB union which also has members at the Deptford Terrace site.
“We are in a bizarre situation that the company made a new inadequate offer yesterday which would have left our members worse off than the original proposals that they unanimously rejected,” said Unite regional officer Mark Sanderson.
“There is no logic in the management’s provocative decision which now means that a total of 10 days of strike action is planned,” he added. “We urge the company to enter into constructive talks before this dispute escalates further in the autumn.”
The future strikes dates are August 16/17, 20/21, 23/24, and 28-30. This will be followed by strikes on 3/4, 6/7, 10/11 and 13/14 September.
The company’s original offer was three per cent, a £150 lump sum and an extra day off over the Christmas period for the year starting January 2018. The new offer is 3.2 per cent with Monday (December 24 2018) off with pay as an additional holiday – or, alternatively, 3.3 per cent.
Mark Sanderson added, “The removal of the £150 one off lump sum means this is a worse offer and actually reduces the 2018 wage bill from the original offer.
“In recent years, our members have accepted below inflation pay awards as the management said that business was not so good, but that when things picked up, there would be higher pay rises.
“Business has now picked up and the promises made have not been honoured and that’s why we are in this strike situation.”