31 August 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT strike ballot at UK freight giant Freightliner Heavy Haul under way in a dispute over pay.
RAIL UNION RMT confirmed today that a ballot for both strike action and action short of a strike will close on the 13th September at Freightliner Heavy Haul in a dispute over pay.
Ballot papers were issued last week, with the ballot closing in just under a fortnight, in a dispute at one of the largest freight companies in the country.
The timeline of the dispute is as follows:
August 18th 2015 - 0% offered
November 23rd 2015 - 35hr week offered with 0% funded by cuts in T&C’s and did not include the whole of the bargaining unit
16th January 2016 - Referendum ballot of RMT members rejects offer by 9 to 1
Jan to May 16 – Redundancy Consultations begin due to down turn in coal usage
June 2016 – 1st October 2015 pay claim still unresolved.
Dispute situation declared by RMT’s NEC following reps meeting with the national union and after further consultation with members.
August/September - Ballot underway including, Groundstaff, Shift Managers, Clerical and Supervisory.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“It is clear from the company accounts that despite the fact that there has been a downturn in the use of coal that FLHH are still showing healthy reserves and profits and that a pay rise to keep pace with the cost of living would be a drop in the ocean compared to the numbers on the Freightliner Heavy Haul balance sheet.
“The union also notes that Directors’ pay has shot up by nearly 30% over a year showing that it is only the front-line workforce being expected to take the hit.
“RMT is aware that the company are also putting safety at risk by training scab managers - production managers and movement inspectors - on a very short course in shunting compressing a normal 5 week course down to 3 days in an effort to break any future action.
“The union is calling for a fair pay increase that stops our members taking a hit on their standard of living. It is clear that a reasonable increase is affordable and that is what our members are fighting for. The union remains available for talks.”
Key Facts and figures:
The union bargaining unit concerns around 110 members around 120 employees about a cost of £4M in wages, so a 2% award would cost £80k a 3% award would cost £120k.
Whilst the union is not disputing a major downturn in the use of coal it is clear from the accounts that FLHH can still afford a pay rise to our members.
Last accounts ending 31st March 2015 show:
Bank Reserves of £60.7M
Profit after taxation of £40.268M
Directors remuneration up to £2.604M from £2.027M (nearly 30%)