Crane workers’ strike action
LIEBHERR STAFF UNHAPPY WITH PAY OFFER
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.