Staff to start overtime ban in pay row at Sunderland car parts supplier Unipres

Unipres (UK) Ltd, Cherry Blossom Way
Unipres (UK) Ltd, Cherry Blossom Way
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Union members at a city car parts plant will start industrial action tomorrow in a row over pay.

Talks between Unipres bosses and union representatives from Unite have broken down at the company’s plant in Cherry Blossom Way.

Unite had requested a meeting with management following a members’ ballot backing industrial action.

The union has told the company an overtime ban will start from a minute past midnight on Friday.

Unite says Unipres - which supplies car parts to Nissan and Honda - has refused to discuss any changes to what was already on the table, or enter into any serious negotiations.

Tony Murphy, Unite national officer for car manufacturing, said: “The current two year offer on pay is in itself reasonable. However there is a major unfairness in that this would be a self-financing deal because the company wishes to remove money from the current profit share scheme, this is unacceptable.

“Our members are not willing to finance their own deal whilst the company continues to make healthy profits.”

Unite has close to 400 members on site.

Steve Bush, Unite regional officer, said: “Following a clear mandate from our members and the company’s reluctance to engage in further meaningful negotiations this may well lead to an increased level of action taken by members.

“We ask Unipres management to think again about their stance and the full terms of the deal being offered.”

Unipres UK managing director Gary Graham condemned the union move: “We are incredibly disappointed that the union has decided to pursue this course of action. We feel our offer of 6.1% over two years with profit share escalating that to a potential 10% per year is both generous and realistic,” he said.

“Unipres employs 1,159 people, and of that number just 179 Unite members voted in favour of industrial action. There is no precedent for this type of action in Unipres’ 27-year history in the UK. We have enjoyed a positive and constructive relationship with Unite and our Review Council, a colleague group we consult with on matters such as pay, terms and conditions.

“Rewarding hard work is fundamental to Unipres and over the past decade, we have paid a bonus unmatched anywhere regionally. Our starting salary is also approximately 20% higher than any other Tier 1 supplier in the area. We are an employer that cares about our staff.

“Management is committed to the negotiation process, and we remain hopeful the union will suspend its decision to initiate industrial action to continue talks.”