Workers at aerospace parts firm SPS Technologies are being balloted for strike action over the company’s ‘opportunistic’ attempt to attack pay rates by as much as £3,000 a year, Unite said today (November 30).
Around 200 staff from the workforce at SPS’ Barkby Road site were made redundant during the summer, with the remaining 280 now facing reductions to overtime pay, sick pay, paid breaks, shift premiums and other terms and conditions.
The changes would see staff, most of whom are represented by Unite, lose between £2,500 and £3,000 from their annual salaries.
Unite said losing such a significant amount will result in workers being unable to pay their mortgages and other essential bills. Staff are concerned that the cuts may force them to use payday loans, look for second jobs or find new work altogether.
Unite said the strike ballot, which opens on Tuesday, December 1 and closes on Monday, December 14 could result in SPS’ operations ‘grinding to a halt’.
Unite regional officer Lakhy Mahal said, “Not content with firing nearly half of its loyal workforce in the middle of a pandemic when they could have been furloughed, SPS is now attempting to make deplorable attacks on the pay and conditions of those who remain.
“SPS is using the pandemic as an excuse to fire and rehire staff on vastly inferior contracts and wages,” Mahal added. “These opportunistic changes will have hugely negative impact on our members’ financial security. Anger is at such a high level that a strike ballot has been called, which could result in SPS’ operations grinding to a halt.
“These wage cuts are so severe that some workers fear they will not be able to keep up with their mortgages or pay their bills. Despite working hard in a full-time job, staff are concerned they will have to rely on payday loans, get an evening job or even leave to find new work. The situation is destroying any remaining trust the workforce had in their employer.
“The behaviour of SPS towards its dedicated staff, who worked right through the first lockdown to ensure the company completed its orders, is simply wrong and will be fought by Unite every step of the way. I strongly urge SPS to stop these attacks, which are causing the firm great reputational harm, before this dispute escalates further.”
By Ryan Fletcher