Staff at Sunderland’s Grundfos plant set to strike over pay row

Staff at a Sunderland factory are set to strike in a row over pay.

Workers at pump manufacturer Grundfos’ site in Ferryboat Lane, North Hylton, could walk out later this week in the first of a number of planned stoppages between now and Christmas after rejecting a pay offer.

The company, which employs around 160 people, says it is disappointed staff ‘rejected Unite’s guidance’ and the offer of a 3.6 per cent pay rise.

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One member of staff told the Echo that the first action would be on Wednesday, September 28, followed by Tuesday, October 4.

After that, it is understood workers could down tools for two days a week, starting from Monday, October 10, then again from Monday, October 17.

The staff member told the Echo: “This will then go up three days a week until it finally gets to a full five-day week downing tools leading up to Christmas in a very busy period.

"We are following all protocols with the union and are open to negotiation and more movement regarding the pay dispute.

“Unfortunately, it has come to this. We are very disappointed with the pay offer.

Staff at Sunderland's Grundfos plant have voted to strike over pay

“This is not a situation we want to be in. We will strike for the full duration if we have to."

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Grundfos senior manager John Austin said the firm was disappointed staff had voted to take industrial action.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that our shopfloor workers have rejected Unite’s guidance and our offer of a 3.6 per cent pay increase,” he said.

“As a conscientious and caring employer, we pride ourselves on our close and positive relationship with our dedicated workforce.”

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He defended the firm's record on pay, adding: "For the last ten years we have given pay awards at, or often above, the rate of inflation and our salaries are highly competitive within our sector.

“However, the last year has been particularly challenging with serious supply chain issues creating a difficult trading environment.

“Despite this we have offered a sensible and sustainable pay increase which will be backdated to January 1, 2022, and have every intention of making a further annual pay award in 2023.

“We appreciate what a stable and talented workforce we have, but we must ensure for the future of the business that any pay increase is affordable in what remain challenging trading conditions.”

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Unite has been contacted for comment.