Unite the union has notified Caterpillar that their members working for the corporation at Larne and Springvale in Belfast will launch a further four weeks of strike action at both plants in the fight for a pay deal that reflects the deepening cost of living crisis.
In a dispute that has already seen four weeks of strikes, the union has been battling Caterpillar’s ‘greed’ and the company’s hostility to efforts to find a negotiated solution.
According to Unite, Caterpillar’s management has adopted anti-trade union tactics including offering a payment bonus to office workers from other locations to cross picket lines and continue production.
In the first quarter of this year, Caterpillar reported profits of £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion), using the vast majority of these funds to benefit shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. The business’s lead director enjoys a rewards package worth £18 million ($23 million) in compensation.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Caterpillar’s greed is obscene and their conduct bring shames to this company.
“Our members are dealing with a cost of living crisis while directors are banking tens of millions of pounds in rewards and shareholders are being showered with cash.
“It’s a disgrace but Unite’s members are determined to win fair pay. They have the full support of their union until management returns with a decent pay increase offer.”
George Brash, Unite regional officer added: “The blame for this dispute lies entirely at the feet of Caterpillar’s management who are refusing to sit down with Unite to resolve this dispute despite requests from the Labour Relations Agency. Unite will not allow this company to starve these workers into submission while demanding compulsory overtime and a real terms pay cut.
“Unite has confirmed a further four weeks of strike action. We are prepared to continue this action for however long it takes for Caterpillar to listen to their employees and return to the negotiating table with a decent pay increase offer.”