Production at Basildon’s biggest employer, the CNH Industrial tractor factory, will come to a standstill as workers take action for better pay, Unite said today (June 22).
More than 500 workers, comprising nearly the entire shopfloor of the factory, will strike on 30 June, 8, 11, 28 and 29 July and 26 and 30 August. More strikes are set to be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.
The workers are striking over a below inflation two year pay offer of 5.6 per cent for the first year and between 1.8 and three per cent for the second depending on CPI inflation. Unite says the offer is a real terms pay cut when the real rate of inflation, RPI, is at 11.7 per cent and expected to climb.
The workers at the 60-year-old factory want a pay rise that reflects rising living costs, which they say CNH can well afford.
In 2021, CNH had net sales of £25.7 billion, with £11.9 billion of that driven by agricultural machinery, particularly tractors. The company’s earnings increased by 30 per cent, with profits before interest and tax hitting £1.3 billion.
During the same year, CNH’s CEO Scott Wine received a £7.5 million signing on bonus and took home nearly £17.8 million.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The greed displayed by CNH’s leadership is staggering. CNH is bringing in billions and its CEO is rewarded obscene amounts, but the company’s workers are expected to swallow a real terms pay cut in a cost of living crisis.
“The sickening excesses of corporations like CNH is exactly why people aren’t fooled by calls for pay restraint. Corporate profiteering is driving inflation not workers’ wages.
“CNH should be under no illusions: We will be backing our members with the full force of the union in their fight for fair pay rise.”
Unite’s CNH members will be joining their US colleagues on strike. CNH workers, belonging to the United Auto Workers (UAW), at two factories in Wisconsin and Iowa have been on strike for two months over pay and have received support from former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who visited them on the picket line.
Unite regional officer Michelle Cook added, “Unite’s CNH Basildon members send solidarity to their UAW brothers and sisters striking for better pay and conditions in America. Our message to CNH is the same: the company makes massive profits off the backs of its staff, it’s time to do the decent thing and give them a decent pay rise.
“Our members are rock solid in their determination and the only way these strikes will stop is if CNH puts forward an acceptable offer.”
By Ryan Fletcher