Engineers, clerical and production staff at a railway supply company will start a four-day strike on Tuesday in a dispute over pay.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said its members at Unipart Rail, who are based in Crewe, were angry that the company has been unwilling to improve a 4.75% pay offer which the union has rejected.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Unipart bosses continue to behave in an intransigent manner, and shown a complete disregard for their own staff.
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“Our members have rejected a derisory pay offer, but despite attempts by our negotiators to reach a settlement, Unipart bosses cancelled a last-ditch meeting, showing no interest in trying to resolve the dispute.
“RMT remains determined to reach, a negotiated settlement on pay and conditions, and is willing to take more strike action if necessary.”
A Unipart Rail spokesperson said: “Unipart Rail has worked hard to avoid strike action and we continue to engage in dialogue with the trade union. We will avoid any disruption to our customers.
“While around half the staff at Crewe are not union members and have not balloted for strike action, we’re disappointed by the threat of industrial action.
“Employee engagement has been a fundamental part in Unipart’s business across all our sites globally for many years and fair remuneration is an important part of that.
“Last year we awarded significant pay increases to colleagues at Crewe. The minimum was 7%, the maximum was 25%, most fell between 10% and 15%. The current pay offer of 4.75% has been based on several factors but is largely driven by affordability as the rail sector continues to be under significant earnings pressure.
“We will continue to be sensitive to the inflationary pressures on our people and will continue to offer them as much support as possible such as free guidance on financial management through independent third-party advisers, who also advise on health and mental health issues.
“However, ultimately the company can only support pay claims that are affordable, and which will not result in steps such as downsizing to bring costs in line with customer demand.”