Caterpillar pays for strike-breakers to stay in five star luxury

Protesters out in support of striking Caterpillar workers

Unite blasts firm for ‘burning through’ cash on rooms that cost up to £850 a night rather than pay workers fairly

Manufacturing company Caterpillar has been paying for the strike-breakers it brought to Northern Ireland to stay in five star luxury, Unite the union says today (Wednesday).

The strike breakers have been staying at the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast but after their presence attracted protests, they were moved to the five-start Culloden Resort Hotel and Spa.

Rooms at the Culloden Resort Hotel – which offers a `luxurious break… the most prestigious five-star hotel in Northern Ireland’ – can cost up to £850 a night, while a suite is £2500 a night.

Unite says that, along with the high-cost hotel accommodation costs, Caterpillar is paying the travel costs and hourly premiums to those they have brought in to cross picket lines.

General secretary Sharon Graham blasted the company saying: “Rather than pay fairly, Caterpillar is burning through huge sums of money in an attempt to defeat its own workforce. 

“It beggars belief – money that should be spent solving this dispute is instead being used to put up dozens of strike-breakers for weeks in luxury resort hotels.  

“Caterpillar’s willingness to throw money at deepening this dispute and lowering their workers’ living standards is truly shameful but they will not shake our members’ resolve.

“Unite’s members will continue their strike action for pay that is fair with the full backing of our union.”

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All-out strike at Interface Europe in Craigavon over pay cut proposal

Business turned a £3.7 million profit in 2020 with director earning 40 times workers’ basic pay

Workers at the Craigavon-based flooring manufacturer Interface Europe are set to commence continuous (all-out) strike action in a dispute over pay.

The strike follows a ballot of Unite’s more than one hundred members which delivered a majority of 88 percent for strike action on a 93 percent turnout.

Continuous strike action due to commence at 22:30 hours on Sunday 26 June with pickets on site from 06:45 hours on Monday 27 June.

With Unite’s membership representing almost all the full-time contracted production workers onsite, the strike is set to have a substantial impact on the company’s operations.

The industrial dispute arises after management rejected the workers’ pay claim for 11 percent (the current rate of retail price inflation) and instead offered a pay increase of 5.25 percent with an additional two percent to shift premiums for hourly employees working shifts. This offer was overwhelmingly rejected by workers as a substantial real-terms pay cut. In response, management have unilaterally imposed their pay offer on agency workers – ignoring entirely the wider collective bargaining process.

General secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham said:  “Interface is yet another business proposing a pay cut for the workers while handing out lots of cash to the bosses.  One of the directors has been awarded a pay-out that is forty times the basic rate earned by workers.  It is obscene and Unite’s members are right to vote overwhelmingly to challenge this.

“The Interface Europe workforce can count on the continuing support of Unite in their dispute. Standing together and standing strong they will defend themselves and their families during this cost of living crisis.”

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Big city investors can’t wash their hands of Caterpillar’s mistreatment of Northern Ireland workers

Caterpillar workers protesting outside State Street in London

Unite brings workers’ campaign to London offices of Vanguard, Blackrock and State Street, who hold more than a fifth of Caterpillar’s stock

Caterpillar pay cut and compulsory overtime for Northern Ireland workers makes total mockery of ethical claims

The general secretary of the UK’s leading union has warned big City investors that they cannot ‘wash their hands’ of Caterpillar’s mistreatment of workers in Northern Ireland.

The call came after Unite took the first in a series of protests targeting Caterpillar’s investors to Blackrock, Vanguard, and State Street in London, who between them hold more than 20 percent of Caterpillar’s total shares.

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Strike at Moy Park Randalstown mill continues as employers refuse to pay the rate for the job.

Moy Park Randalstown picket line standing strong

Randalstown workers paid ‘chicken feed’ wages – some less than £5000 a year compared to workers at other Moy Park sites

As Moy Park profits touch £90 million Unite exposes how poverty pay at Randalstown leaves workers borrowing to ‘make ends meet’.

A Unite survey of striking Moy Park workers has revealed that eight in ten are suffering a declining standard of living; seven in ten had trouble making ends meet in the last year; and six in ten had to borrow money to get by.

Drivers at the plant regularly work well in excess of 70 hours a fortnight to make a living as the rates of pay at the site are more than £5,000 a year less than drivers receive at other Moy Park sites for the same work.

The latest figures for 2021 show Moy Park has reported profits of £86 million, while its owner Pilgrim’s Pride banked among its highest ever margins at £478 million. So there’s cash a plenty to pay the same rate across the company.

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Eight more weeks of strike at Larne and Springvale at ‘hugely profitable’ Caterpillar, as Unite steps up pay fight.

Striking Caterpillar workers

CEO top line is £19.7 million, shareholders have a £4 billion bonanza but workers offered a brutal pay cut as well as forced labour through compulsory overtime.

US construction giant Caterpillar faces two more months of strike action as members of Unite the union continue to fight for a fair pay rise from their super-rich employer. The workers are also facing the threat of forced labour as they are being asked to agree to compulsory overtime.

Inflation is running at 11.1% so Caterpillar’s current pay offer – well below inflation – is in real terms a massive pay cut.

Last year, Caterpillar cleared £5.6 billion in profits. It gave a £4 billion of that in a bonanza in shareholders dividends and share buybacks.  Meanwhile CEO, James Umpleby III, took received £19.7 million in what’s called ‘salary and benefits’.

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