Production of the MINI at Oxford could be severely disrupted during pay strikes by warehouse workers handling components for the carmaker, Unite the union warned today (Tuesday 12 April).

Strike action

Nearly 150 workers based at the Oxford MINI plant, employed by logistics firm Rudolph & Hellmann Automotive Limited, will strike on 26 and 28 April and 4, 6, 10, 12, 17 and 19 May.

The workers, made up of warehouse staff and shunter drivers, are striking over an ‘inadequate’ pay offer.

Production

The strikes are likely to have a significant impact on production at MINI.  Unite also warns that a failure to raise pay to meet rising living costs will add to Rudolph & Hellmann’s retention and recruitment problems.

Unite also disputes the company’s claim that it is increasing wages by 10 per cent.  The union says that with four per cent rise imposed in 2021 without consultation, the 2022 pay offer is actually six per cent, below the real rate of inflation (RPI), which stands at 8.2 per cent and rising.

Complete backing

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our Rudolph & Hellman members will be receiving Unite’s complete backing during these strikes, which will slow the BMW production line down or stop it completely.

 “Unite will not accept a situation whereby BMW’s profits are being made off the backs of low wage workers in the supply chain.  Rudolph & Hellman – and BMW - need to start taking account of our members’ rocketing living costs and put forward an offer they can accept.”

Rate increases

The company is offering a rate of £11.33 per hour for day shifts and £12.27 for late shifts for warehouse workers. The workers are demanding a day rate of £12.50 and £13.50 for night shifts. Shunter drivers are being offered £13.97 for days and £15.07 for nights, but want a flat rate of £15.50, which is nearer industry standards for the role.

Critical delivery

Unite regional officer Scott Kemp said: “This is the second time in six months Unite has had to serve notice of strike action in the BMW supply chain due to poor salaries.

 “Rudolph & Hellmann’s workers are absolutely critical to the delivery of the MINI’s production and we expect BMW to work with the company to improve this inadequate pay offer and prevent strike action intensifying.”

 ENDS

Notes to editors:

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.