The ‘betrayed’ workers at Cummins Generator Technologies in Stamford are holding an industrial action ballot, as their bosses continue to refuse to enter into constructive talks.
The ballot follows the announcement in October that the Barnack Road site in the Lincolnshire town will close in October 2018 with the threat to 300 jobs.
Unite, the country’s largest union, is asking its 370 members whether they wish to take strike action and/or industrial action short of a strike. The ballot opens on Friday 22 December and closes on Friday 12 January 2018.
The company has indicated 150 people could be employed at a centre of excellence in Ryhall Road in the town.
The company had offered a one-off £5,000 so-called ‘transition’ deal for the workers to accept the closure of Barnack Road. Because of the strings attached, Unite believed the £5,000 figure was unachievable.
Unite regional officer Scott Lennon said: “We are holding an industrial action ballot of our 370 members as we have hit a brick wall in trying to negotiate in a constructive fashion with this intransigent management.
“The workers feel deeply betrayed by the company and have little faith in the management when it comes to the future of the Ryhall Road site.
“The main objective is for the company to do the right thing with an understanding of and respect for the sacrifices that our members have made over the years to keep Barnack Road open.
“Also, we are seeking gold-plated guarantees that the Ryhall Road site has a viable future when Barnack Road finally closes.
“Our members have expressed 100 per cent solidarity with holding the ballot and that the company needs to do the decent thing in listening to their concerns – it should not be forgotten that that skilled engineering jobs in rural Lincolnshire are in short supply.
“We want the management to get around the table for meaningful discussions that meets our members’ concerns and ensures a smooth transition with the closure.
“Unite will keep all communications open with the company and will exhaust all avenues in resolving this dispute.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey had written to the American chairman and CEO of Cummins Inc. Tom Linebarger criticising the local management for ‘refusing to engage on a proper basis with our union’.
It is understood that Cummins currently employs 500 people in Stamford.
Notes to editors:
In 2010, the workers put forward radical pay proposals on the understanding that this would safeguard the future of Barnack Road, which has been a manufacturing site for nearly a century.
These proposals included pay freezes for the majority of the workforce and pension cuts. Unite says that all these sacrifices now appear to have been in vain.
The company, which makes alternators for GenSets in the power generation business, appears to be blaming the state of the UK economy for its actions and plans to move production to Romania.
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.