Union recognition win

Lear Corporation workers in Sunderland win campaign for trade union rights

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Hundreds of workers at a Sunderland based car parts manufacturer, supplying Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover, are celebrating after winning their campaign for trade union recognition with Unite.


Following almost a year of campaigning at the Lear Corporation in Houghton le Spring, the workers have been informed that they now have a legal right to trade union recognition after the Government’s Conciliation Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled that Unite had a majority of workers in membership. The company and Unite have now entered into a 30 day period to reach a formal agreement to negotiate collectively on behalf of the 370 strong workforce.


Unite already had recognition at Lear Corporation at its sites in Coventry, Redditch and Alfreton in Derbyshire but the company had a weaker staff council at its factory in Sunderland. The workforce at Sunderland had a number of issues around poor working practices, they felt that the company was not interested in their opinion and needed a strong union in order to have an effective voice at work.


The workers supported by Unite’s organising department began a campaign in April 2019. After months of determined campaigning and growing membership, amid company resistance, the union applied to the CAC to request it formally ruled on Unite’s right to recognition. On January 13 the CAC declared that Unite has a legal right to negotiate on behalf of all hourly paid shop floor workers, maintenance and team leaders in the just- in-time & foam facilities at the company.


“Workers at the Sunderland based car parts manufacturer have won their campaign for trade union rights at Lear Corporation,” said Unite regional officer Mike Routledge.


“The workforce needed an effective voice at work,” he added. “They could see no reason why other sites in the UK had Unite negotiating on the workers’ behalf but they didn’t. Despite resistance from management, the workforce with the support of Unite’s organising department built a union and we look forward to being an effective voice for hundreds of workers at the factory in Houghton le Spring.”


Lear set up in Sunderland in 2011 to create its first UK foam manufacturing facility for vehicle seating. The company supplies both Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover. Lear is a US owned components company with employees across 39 countries worldwide.

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