The delivery of top UK car brands for export could be hit by industrial action, following a unilateral decision to ‘fire and rehire’ 23 drivers by a French-owned logistics company.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said that the drivers’ employer STVA, part of the Groupe CAT, had given notice that their current contracts would terminate on 21 April and they could then apply for a new one which would mean them losing about £3,200-a-year in wages.

Unite said that it was planning to hold an industrial action ballot of the drivers who deliver Bentley, Ford and Honda cars across the UK and unload the vehicles for export at the ports.

The drivers are based at Belshill (Glasgow), Crewe, Doncaster, Portbury (Port of Bristol), Southampton, Sunderland, Swindon and Widnes.

Unite national officer for road transport and logistics Adrian Jones said: We have been in talks for some time trying to understand the company’s rationale for making the proposed changes. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the management has not been clear on why it wants the changes, nor what the impact will be.

“The financial data provided, so far, doesn’t truly reflect the actual work our members do on a daily basis.

“The drivers have now been confronted with this ‘fire and rehire’ ultimatum that could see them lose about £3,200-a-year in wages which they have completely rejected.

“We will be balloting for industrial action, including the option for strike action, as soon as possible.

“If strikes do go ahead, it will mean that deliveries of some of the UK’s top car brands both at home and for export will be disrupted.

“The background to this is that two companies have come together under the umbrella of Groupe CAT. Our members at STVA have got decent terms and conditions; however, the workers at Carlson, the other company, have inferior terms. 

“So what we are seeing here is that our members at STVA are being lined up to take part in ‘a race to the bottom’.

“Unfortunately, this creeping culture of ‘fire and rehire’ is now afflicting UK workers, as unscrupulous bosses use Covid-19 as a smokescreen to salami-slice workers’ pay and long-established employment conditions.”

ENDS 

Notes to editors:

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.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.