Unions declare ‘shame on you’ to Wabtec’s breaking of proud history.

Members of Unite and the RMT unions employed by rail maintenance firm Wabtec in Doncaster will strike over ‘abhorrent’ fire and rehire plans.

Over 200 workers will take strike action on 10, 11, 12 and 13 June. A second round of strike action will begin on 27 June and end on 3 July, with more strikes set to be announced.

The unions say that the US-owned firm is bringing shame to Doncaster, home of the Flying Scotsman, which was built on the site Wabtec operates from.

Wabtec is seeking to fire and rehire the workers onto new contracts that will see breaks cut and staff having to work extra hours, including at the end of their shift, for no extra pay. 

The company is offering workers that sign the contracts a two-year below inflation pay rise. With inflation (RPI) running at 11.1 percent, this is a real terms pay cut over two years.

The unions are advising staff who have been pressurised by management during one-to-one meetings into signing the new contracts that they can still take action to fight the changes.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Shame on Wabtec. This company is the latest in the line of bad bosses seeking to use the abhorrent practice of ‘fire and rehire’ to attack workers and cut pay. 

“Wabtec is trying to bully staff to sign up for markedly inferior wages and conditions. There is no way Unite will ever agree to that."

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Wabtec has behaved appallingly from start to finish and wants our members to pay for the company's financial problems by firing staff and rehiring them on inferior wages and conditions.

“Wabtec bosses should be ashamed of tarnishing Doncaster’s proud history of manufacturing, with predecessors building the Flying Scotsman and Mallard locomotives. Shame on you.”

Wabtec is an international manufacturer and supplier of equipment for the railway industry. The workers at its Doncaster site maintain and repair rail stock, including carriages, wheels and bogies.

The strikes will impact services for a number of Wabtec clients including Angel Trains, VTG, Nacco Group, Freightliner KFA, GB Railfreight, DB Schencker and Siemens.


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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 Sharon Graham.