Union strife at Jaguar Land RoverMotorists of a certain vintage will remember the UK car industry of the 70s and early 80s with a shudder. Strikes were common place and crippled the industry. It could be fairly said that these strikes were a major contributor to the sell-off of UK car firms, as many struggled to turn a profit under the constant threat of industrial action.
Motorists of a certain vintage will remember the UK car industry of the 70s and early 80s with a shudder. Strikes were common place and crippled the industry. It could be fairly said that these strikes were a major contributor to the sell-off of UK car firms, as many struggled to turn a profit under the constant threat of industrial action. This week has seen the UK car industry record another month of increased sales, the sixteenth month in succession, but news from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) could cast a cloud over that good news.
Strike action is being threatened by Unite union members, who actually work for delivery company DHL, rather than JLR itself. These workers deliver parts to the JLR assembly lines, where JLR workers enjoy better pay and conditions. The DHL workers are demanding a new contract which will match JLR's pay and conditions. DHL issued a statement on Sunday 7th July which condemned the strike and said it was 'extremely disappointed that Unite has rejected our very generous offer and voted in favour of industrial action.' It also suggested it was ready to exclude striking workers and the statement continued: "Detailed contingency plans are in place to minimise disruption to the customer and we strongly urge the union to reconsider its reckless action and give a clear message to our customers and employees that Unite supports UK growth."
Unite and JLR have taken a more cautious approach, with the car maker saying: "Jaguar Land Rover is disappointed that DHL Unite members have voted in favour of industrial action. We encourage a return to the negotiating table to reach a satisfactory outcome for all parties as soon as possible." Unite, meanwhile said that the dispute was 'at the very beginning of the process' and that they hoped to resolve the situation via negotiation.
DHL has offered its workers a 4.5% pay rise for 2013, followed by a further 3% for 2014. That is some distance from the union's demands of 12.8% for its parts workers and 20.6% for its drivers. Last week 74% of the workers affected voted for industrial action. More votes are to follow at other companies who supply JLR before a final decision on strike action that is expected in about four weeks' time. The news comes just as JLR announced more success in its key export market of China, with the company selling 42,155 cars there so far this year.
Posted by Edwin Miles on