Crane work­ers’ strike ac­tion


Sunderland Echo - - News - By Sue Kirby Twit­ter: @SueKir­byJP

Crane work­ers at a Sun­der­land plant took strike ac­tion last night over “in­ad­e­quate” pay of­fer.

The work­force at the Liebherr Sun­der­land Works went on strike from 7.59pm un­til to 11.59pm to­day and Unite mem­bers will stage an of­fi­cial picket line at the site to­mor­row.

The ac­tion fol­lows talks with the com­pany which broke down af­ter the man­age­ment made a re­vised of­fer which was re­jected.

Unite, the coun­try’s largest union, which rep­re­sents 30 skilled crane as­sem­blers, will be co-or­di­nat­ing the in­dus­trial ac­tion with the GMB union, which also has mem­bers at the Dept­ford Ter­race site.

Unite re­gional of­fi­cer Mark San­der­son said: “We are in a bizarre sit­u­a­tion that the com­pany made a new in­ad­e­quate of­fer which would have left our mem­bers worse off than the orig­i­nal pro­posen­ter als that they unan­i­mously re­jected.

“There is no logic in the man­age­ment’s provoca­tive de­ci­sion, which now means that a to­tal of 10 days of strike ac­tion is planned.

“We urge the com­pany to into con­struc­tive talks be­fore this dis­pute es­ca­lates fur­ther in the au­tumn.”

Unite says the com­pany’s orig­i­nal of­fer was 3%, a £150 lump sum and an ex­tra day off over the Christ­mas pe­riod for the year start­ing Jan­uary 2018 .

The new of­fer is 3.2% with De­cem­ber 24 off with pay as an ad­di­tional hol­i­day – or, al­ter­na­tively, 3.3%.

Mr San­der­son added: “The re­moval of the £150 one­off lump sum means this is a worse of­fer and ac­tu­ally re­duces the 2018 wage bill from the orig­i­nal of­fer.

“In re­cent years, our mem­bers have ac­cepted be­low in­fla­tion pay awards as the man­age­ment said that busi­ness was not so good, but that when things picked up, there would be higher pay rises.

“Busi­ness has now picked up and the prom­ises made have not been hon­oured and that’s why we are in this strike sit­u­a­tion.”

Liebherr manag­ing di­rec­tor Ralph Saelzer said the firm ac­cepted the re­vised of­fer was lower than be­fore in the short term, but it was worth more over­all.

“It is worth less than the £150 for this year, but not in the medium to long-term,” he said.

“The 0.2% would be a per­ma­nent fix­ture on pay. In two years, they would have ac­cu­mu­lated £150, and from then on they would still get an ex­tra 0.2% every year.”

Liebherr Sun­der­land Works.

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