West Midland workers making interiors for elite autos McLaren, Aston Martin and Bentley, are due to start a period of seven one-day strikes in June and July over a real terms pay cut.
More than 100 workers at CabAuto in Tipton earn just £9.90 an hour to make seats and interior trims for luxury cars such as the £700,000 McLaren Senna and the £225,000 Aston Martin Superleggera.
The workers will strike over a three per cent pay offer on 28 and 30 June and 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 July.
Unite says that the three percent offered to its CabAuto members is a pay cut with real inflation running at 11.1 per cent and rising. Some CabAuto workers are so poorly rewarded that they have been forced to use food banks.
CabAuto is owned by Germany’s Adler Pelzer Group. The group’s latest financial report shows that in 2020 it made profits of £118 million (€137.6 million) an increase of 6.7 per cent on the previous year (see notes to editors).
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “CabAuto should be thoroughly ashamed of itself. This workforce is making cars for the super-rich but their employer, sitting on millions, keeps them on rock bottom pay and refuses a reasonable wage rise. This sort of disgraceful inequality is why workers in this country have had enough.
“CabAuto can absolutely afford a decent pay rise and should pay up now. Our CabAuto members have Unite’s total backing every step of the way in their fight to achieve that.”
Unite also accused CabAuto of trying to undermine collective bargaining at the Tipton site by approaching members individually and trying to persuade them to accept the three per cent offer.
Unite regional officer Jason Richards added, “CabAuto is approaching Unite members to pressurise them into taking this deal. This is a blatant attempt to undermine our union and our members’ collective bargaining power, but it has backfired and only strengthened their resolve to strike for a fair pay rise.
“CabAuto and Adler Pelzer Group need to stop the intimidation and focus on getting its workforce off food bank dependency. Put forward an offer our members can accept or this dispute will step up.”
By Ryan Fletcher