GE Aviation strike action continues

GE Aviation accused of ‘dirty tricks’ in Gloucester pay dispute

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Workers at Gloucester’s Hurricane Road GE Aviation factory will be striking every Friday until their call for a fair wage is honoured, Unite said today (March 29).

Multinational GE Aviation has been accused of `dirty tricks’ in an attempt to undermine the workers.

The 90-plus workers are employed by GE’s subsidiary Dowty Propellers.

The workers have rejected a two year pay offer worth just 4.5 per cent which, with the actual level of inflation (retail price index) standing at 8.2 per cent, amounts to a real terms pay cut.

Workers are concerned that GE’s management has been filming and photographing the workers when they have been undertaking lawful industrial action and peaceful picketing.

In an additional cynical move, described by Unite as `dirty tricks’ designed to intimidate the strikers, GE has changed the sickness policy. Workers now have to provide a certificate for all sickness-related absences on day one, compared to the standard practice of after five days, placing additional pressure on local GP practices already struggling due to the increased workload caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “GE Aviation’s dirty tricks disgrace the company’s name. They are also counter-productive. Rather than frightening our members back to work, these attacks make them even more determined to secure fair pay.

“GE should put its energies into tabling a serious pay offer,” she added. “Our members will have Unite’s full and total support until this dispute is resolved.”

In addition to the attack on sick pay policies, GE has also banned the workers from taking any annual leave during the dispute, including on Monday – Thursdays when they are not on strike.

Dowty Propellers’ products are used in both civilian and military aircraft as well as marine hovercraft. The strike action, which began on 4 March, has already caused considerable disruption to the production and the delivery of its products.

Unite regional officer Matt Allen noted, “The strike action is already severely affecting the company’s orders and delays will only get worse. This dispute is entirely of GE’s own making – it can afford to make a fair pay offer but has chosen not to do so.”

This round of strike action will continue until Friday, May 20.

By Barckley Sumner

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