Strike escalates at Peterlee factory over ‘insulting’ wage offer
The PAY strikes at two car factories in County Durham continued into their second week after unions reprimanded ‘insulting’ wage offers that have been offered to staff.
Workers at NSK Bearings and AKS Precision Ball in Peterlee began striking at the site on Wednesday March 23, with further industrial action today (April 2).
Around 200 workers, comprising the entire workforce of the workshops at the two factories, both owned by NSK Europe, have gone on strike every Wednesday and Saturday – and plan to do so for the next six weeks on a “insulting” 1.6% wage offer.
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Unite the Union, which represents workers, has previously threatened that the industrial action could disrupt carmakers’ supply chains.
Already, car brands such as VW, Toyota and Renault have been hit in the planned strike, according to Unite.
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “This insulting wage offer has left these workers with no choice but to go on strike.
“Unite is here to defend and improve jobs, wages and conditions for our members and staff at NSK Europe in Peterlee will receive the full support of the union in their fight for a decent pay rise.
According to its latest financial report, NSK Europe made gross profits of over £80m for the year ending March 31, 2021.
Unite Regional Manager Nick Halton added: “NSK Europe is bringing in staggering amounts of money, but our members’ pay has been eroded for years.
“They have had enough and are determined to strike until NSK offers an acceptable wage offer. The longer it takes, the more these strikes will intensify and the more disrupted NSK customers will be, including VW, Toyota and Renault.
Alongside the union’s support, Labor MP for Easington, Grahame Morris, highlighted his support for workers at NSK Europe, and even joined factory staff this morning.
He said, “Solidarity with UNITE members of NSK. I support calls for NSK Europe to resume negotiations and reach a fair settlement to preserve the standard of living for the Peterlee workforce that has sustained and made NSK profitable for many decades.”
There was no one available from NSK Bearings in the UK to comment.
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