Unite the union has today (13 February) announced that pay talks with Mahle Engine Systems based in Kilmarnock have collapsed. The plant which employs around 185 workers makes high-quality components for motorsport engines, combustion engines and electric vehicles.

Unite will now give statutory notice to ballot its membership on strike action, and action short of a strike. The ballot is expected to open on 28 February and end on 13 March. If the industrial action ballot is successful then strike action could begin as early as 27 March.

Pay talks have been ongoing between Unite and the company for weeks but they have now concluded due to the rejection of the final pay offer by 90.7 per cent of Unite’s membership in a consultative ballot. Mahle has proposed a pay deal for each of the next two years which is poorer than the 2018 pay deal agreed over the same period. The 2018 pay deal led to a 6.5 per cent deal consisting of a 3.5 per cent increase on all rates effective from 1 January 2018 and a further 3.0 per cent increase on all rates effective from 1 January 2019.

Unite regional industrial officer Paul Bennett said: “Unite has been in ongoing talks with Mahle for weeks. It’s been our objective to resolve this pay dispute quickly which is why Unite offered to engage the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

"Mahle's management have dithered and stalled throughout using the pay talks as a stalling tactic to concede very little to the workforce. Let’s remember Mahle is a profitable company based on the hard work of our members who have now run out of patience. We will now ballot the membership on industrial action but we also remain willing to enter more talks with the company. However, this will only be on the basis that the company significantly improve upon their current offer.”


  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.