New car deliveries at risk

New car deliveries at risk

13 March 2014

Unite, Britain’s biggest union, has warned that deliveries of the best known car brands from Minis to Range Rovers to showrooms across the country face serious disruption.

Unite is urging Stobart Automotive to make genuine progress in talks with Unite this Friday (14 March) over the future of the business.

Drivers of car transporters working for Stobart Automotive voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action with 85 per cent voting in favour of strike action on a 70 per cent turnout. The workers are furious that drivers from other parts of the Stobart business and being brought in to undercut wages, and the company has not put a pay offer on the table for 2014.

The Stobart group has also refused to commit to future investment in the business since it bought it from Autologic in 2012. Workers fear that Stobart Automotive is not committed to the future of the current workforce.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “We have given the company a number of opportunities to avoid a strike. The drivers feel that without progress on Friday, they have no choice but to announce industrial action in order to protect their livelihoods.

“Despite record car sales, Stobart Automotive is refusing to make a pay offer while it undermines our long-standing agreements by bringing in drivers on lower terms and conditions. If a strike goes ahead it will cause major disruption to the delivery of new cars to showrooms across the country. We urge the haulier to take this opportunity to make progress towards resolving this dispute.”

The company has depots in Portbury, Bristol; Wellesbourne, Warwickshire; Swindon, Wiltshire; Burniston, Yorkshire; Purfleet, Essex; Southampton; Oxford; Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire; Ellesmere Port, Cheshire; and Washington, Tyne and Wear.

The company’s clients include; JLR, BMW, General Motors, Mazda, Toyota, Renault, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Nissan, Dacia, Honda, Mitsubushi, Chevrolet, VW, Skoda, Audi and Chrysler.

The UK new car market has achieved 24 consecutive months of growth, increasing 17.4 per cent over the period according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315

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Notes to editors:

•    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.
•    247 votes were cast. 209 (85 per cent) voted yes for strike action and 37 (15 per cent) voted against strike action. There was 1 spoilt ballot paper.