Unipres defends pay proposals as industrial action set to start

Bosses at a Wearside firm have defended new pay proposals as workers prepare to begin industrial action.

Thursday, 5th May 2016, 4:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2016, 5:10 pm
Unipres UK in Sunderland

Unite union members at car parts plant Unipres UK were set to begin an overtime ban at midnight.

The company says the offered 6.1% award is over two years, and compares favourably to other companies in the area.

Gary Graham, managing director, said: “As a major Wearside employer and responsible business, Unipres has a duty of care to staff to ensure it is equipped to withstand changing economic circumstances and sector fluctuations across our industry.

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“However, we are a company built on people and, as such, place major value on our staff, and on rewarding them fairly for their work.

“The move to remodel the profit-share element of our current pay scheme is first and foremost to ensure the business remains healthy and we continue to provide employment to our 1,159-strong workforce.

“The bar for the new deal has been set intentionally low, based on the delivery of a minimum of £3m profit in 2016 and £5m next year – achievable targets that historically have been met over the last ten years.

“Based on financial forecasts this will see payment of profit-share bonus made to our team, matching previous years’ payments.

“The introduction of this trigger point is not designed to withhold payment from the team.

“It is simply about us protecting the long term sustainability of the business, which is in the interests of our whole team, and the next generation who rely on prudent decisions by businesspeople today to ensure there are jobs for them tomorrow.

“Unipres is one of the only Tier 1 employers in the North East to pay a profit-share to its team, while we appreciate the value of the scheme to our staff, we must also act as a responsible employer and not overstretch ourselves with the global automotive manufacturing industry facing some serious challenges.”