Unite cites "pay betrayal"

More than 500 workers at the CNH Industrial tractor factory at Basildon, will begin pay strikes in May, the Unite union announced on Wednesday this week (April 8th 2024).

According to Unite, workers are angry that the company has reneged on an agreement struck during 2022, stating pay increases would be calculated by the average rate of inflation over the year.

The union says that instead, CNH is offering four per cent for 2024, rather than the 7.4 per cent it should be under the original agreement. For 2025, the company is offering the rate of inflation as of December 2024.

Service Dealer contacted CNH in the UK for a statement to pass on to our dealer network readership - who will naturally be concerned about any potential delays to supply of machinery.

We received what appears to be a generic quote from a 'company spokesperson' representing the Global Comms team which read, "CNH is in negotiations with the Unite Trade Union representing employees based at the company’s manufacturing site in Basildon, Essex. Following a ballot of its members, the Union has informed the company that the workforce has voted in favour of both Industrial Action Short of Strike Action and for Strike Action. The Union has also informed the company of the dates on which it intends to hold strikes. The company is disappointed that the parties were unable to reach an agreement and that the Unite Union has decided on this course of action.

"We recognise the Union’s decision creates high anxiety among our represented employees in Basildon, as well as our other employees, our customers, and our community. During this period, we foresee no disruption to tractor supply

"The company remains committed to reaching an agreement, and we are keen to work with the Union to resolve this situation in a timely manner. We will continue to negotiate in good faith and trust that the Union will do the same."

Record profits

Unite went on to point out that CNH Group reported record profits of £2.4 billion in 2023, and profits are forecast to stay high for the next three years. They also highlighted that CEO Scott Wine received a total compensation package of £19 million in 2022, which was 310 times the pay of the average worker at CNH Group.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The pay deal with CNH was agreed in good faith and the company’s extremely healthy finances show that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for it not to be adhered to.

“CNH is simply trying to rake in even more profits by short-changing its workers. Unite never accepts attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and the CNH Basildon workforce have their union’s total backing in taking strike action.”

Unite say the workers, comprising nearly the entire shopfloor of the factory, will strike on 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 May. More strikes will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved. 

Unite believe strike action will severely compromise the supply of New Holland tractors from the factory, which are shipped across the world.

Unite regional officer Michelle Cook said, “Paying these workers what was agreed would be water off a duck’s back to CNH. Instead, the company will have to explain to its clients that its penny-pinching greed has caused tractor shortages. Strike action can still be avoided if CNH stops trying to double cross its workers and sticks to the original agreement.”

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