Strike action likely to paralyse production at both Springvale, Belfast and Larne production sites after overwhelming rejection of latest pay offer tied to compulsory overtime
Unite has notified management of a series of dates for a campaign of industrial action at Caterpillar in Northern Ireland.
The first strike will occur for the four day production period on Monday 11 April and be followed up the week after Easter with a further four day stoppage on 25 April. The strike action will then recommence for the week after the May day holiday (Tuesday 3 May) and the following week.
The strike ballot occurs after Unite members overwhelmingly rejected the latest pay offer from management. This offer made insufficient improvements to pay, was tied to a threat of compulsory overtime and attempted to divide the bargaining unit.
US-owned Caterpillar reported surging profits and demand in 2021, is sitting on cash of some $9.3 billion (over £7 billion) and paid out $2.3 billion to shareholders.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham expressed her total support for the Caterpillar workers as they prepared for an extensive campaign of strike action:
“This is another case of naked boardroom greed. Caterpillar is sitting on billions and could well afford a pay deal which protects our members and their families at a time of surging inflation.
“Caterpillar must understand that these workers are resolute and have the full support of their union as they prepare to take determined action to win a fair wage deal.”
Regional Officer for the workforce, George Brash, laid the blame for the dispute squarely with employers. He called on them to recognise the determination of Unite’s members and make a stand-alone pay offer which would address pay concerns:
“Caterpillar has attempted to demonise our members for exercising their right to participate in lawful industrial action but the blame lies squarely at their door. An offer was made to management which would have dealt with the pay dispute and allowed both parties to enter into a separate process to discuss overtime. That offer was flatly rejected by the employers.
“It is time for Caterpillar to show our members respect. That starts with increasing wages in a no-strings attached pay offer. The ball is in the court of management.”
Pickets will be going up at 7am at the gates of Caterpillar sites in both Springvale, Belfast and in Larne on Monday 11 April.
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