Workers at Houghton Lear car parts factory win trade union recognition

Hundreds of workers at the Lear car component plant in Houghton have won the right to trade union recognition.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 1:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 10:24 am
The Lear Corporation in Houghton is to recognise the Unite trade union after nine months of campaigning. Picture by Stu Norton.
The Lear Corporation in Houghton is to recognise the Unite trade union after nine months of campaigning. Picture by Stu Norton.

The Rainton Bridge Industrial Estate factory, which supplies Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover, will now recognise Unite, the UK’s second biggest trade union.

After campaigning for nine months, employees have been informed that they now have a legal right to union recognition, after the Government’s Conciliation Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruled that Unite had a majority of workers there in union membership.

The company and Unite have now entered into a 30-day period to reach a formal agreement to negotiate collectively on behalf of the 370 strong workforce.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Lear Corporation has been in Rainton Bridge since 2011. Picture by Stu Norton.

Unite already had recognition at Lear Corporation sites in Coventry, Redditch in Worcestershire and Alfreton in Derbyshire. But it had not been recognised at Houghton, where workers wanted to raise a number of issues.

Supported by Unite, the employees began a campaign for union recognition in April 2019. The union applied to the CAC to request formal ruling on their right to recognition.

On January 13 the CAC decided in Unite’s favour, giving them a legal right to negotiate on behalf of all hourly paid shop floor workers, maintenance and team leaders in the just-in-time and foam facilities at the company.

Unite regional officer, Mike Routledge said: “Workers at the Sunderland based car parts manufacturer have won their campaign for trade union rights at Lear Corporation.

“The workforce needed an effective voice at work. They could see no reason why other sites in the UK had Unite negotiating on the workers’ behalf, but they didn’t.

“The workforce with the support of Unite’s organising department built a union and we look forward to being an effective voice for hundreds of workers at the factory in Houghton-le-Spring.”

The Lear Corporation’s headquarters are in Michigan, USA. It is a global, multi-billion pound organisation with employees in 39 countries.

The company set up in Houghton in 2011 to create its first UK foam manufacturing facility for vehicle seating.

The factory was extended in 2015, creating an additional 100 jobs.