County Durham car factory strikes intensify

Striking workers at NSK Bearings and AKS Precision Ball step up fight for fair pay rise

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Pay strikes at car bearing manufacturers NSK Bearings and AKS Precision Ball in Peterlee, County Durham, have intensified as workers step up their fight for a fair pay rise.

Around 200 workers, members of Unite, have taken eight days of strike action since March 23 after rejecting an ‘offensive’ 1.6 per cent pay offer. The real cost of living, RPI, currently stands at nine per cent and is set to rise further.

They will now stage a further 11 days of strikes, which begin today (April 20) and end on May 15.

The factories are owned by NSK Europe, which reported gross profits of more than £80 million in 2021.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “NSK Europe makes huge profits. It can well afford to remove this offensive offer – which is a pay cut at a time of soaring living costs – and offer a pay deal that takes account of the present-day reality.

“Unite will not stand for attacks on our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and NSK’s County Durham workforce have the union’s full support in their fight for a fair pay rise.”

The strike will hit the entire shopfloor workforce at the two factories, which produce bearings for automakers such as VW, Toyota and Renault.

Unite regional coordinating officer Suzanne Reid added, “Despite NSK’s success, the company has been degrading our members’ pay for years and the workforce has had enough.

“Unless NSK tables an acceptable offer this dispute will continue to escalate and cause further supply chain problems for its clients, including VW, Toyota and Renault.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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