Bosses at the Mercedes Benz Retail Group (MBRG) have put the brakes on its technician workforce receiving a pay rise for the second year running, which means that workers are now accelerating towards a strike ballot.

Unite the union will be balloting about 175 of its members at nine different sites, the majority of whom are vehicle technicians, for strike action over the refusal of the top people’s marque to offer any pay rise for this year, following no pay rise in 2020. The ballot runs from Thursday 2 December to Monday 20 December.

MBRG sites include Brentford, Brooklands, Colindale, Croydon, Heathrow, Loughton, Temple Fortune, Stratford and Watford.

The business is owned by the highly profitable Daimler AG, which increased its net profits in 2020, despite the trading difficulties caused by the pandemic. Unite said dividends for Daimler have raced ahead, while employee wages have stalled. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Mercedes Benz Retail Group should understand very clearly that Unite won’t stand by and allow the hard work and dedication of our members, who worked through the pandemic, to be treated in such an insulting fashion when the RPI rate of inflation is now running at six per cent. 

“During the various lockdowns key sites, such as Brentford, were kept open specifically for key workers to have their vehicles maintained. This spirit in the national interest should be rewarded with a generous pay rise.”

Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: “Our members accepted zero per cent in 2020, knowing it had been an unusually difficult year for car dealerships, but won’t accept another pay freeze which will mean a significant and unacceptable pay cut in real terms. 

“MBRG is currently looking for a buyer for the business, but our members’ wages can’t be ‘parked’ to make the enterprise look more attractive for a potential investor. 

“The Mercedes Benz brand has a reputation for high quality and first class customer service, but its industrial relations are currently a car crash. We urge the management to come to the negotiating table before our members vote for strike action.”

According to Daimler’s website: In 2020, net profit improved to €4.0 billion (2019: €2.7 billion). Net profit attributable to the shareholders of Daimler AG amounted to €3.6 billion (2019: €2.4 billion), leading to an increase in earnings per share to €3.39 (2019: €2.22). At the Annual General Meeting on March 31, 2021, the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board will propose a dividend of €1.35 per share (2019: €0.90). The total payout will therefore amount to €1.4 billion (2019: €1.0 billion)

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Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.


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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.