Workers employed at the south coast firm VFS Southampton Ltd, who assemble tipper trucks and vans for Ford, have announced extensive strike action in a dispute over pay.

Real terms pay cut

The workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, voted overwhelmingly for the action after VFS imposed a pay award which the company claims is worth 3.65 per cent but, with the RPI (retail price index) rate of inflation currently standing at 7.8 per cent and set to rise further, is in reality a pay cut.

VFS also assembles large vehicles for Mercedes so the strikes will hit both companies with delays to the delivery of vehicles.

Unite’s members will hold a 24-hour strike on Tuesday 29 March with a further six strike periods scheduled for a total of 25 days until mid-June (full strike details in notes for editors).

Decent offer needed

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:  “VFS is trying to impose a real terms pay cut while the cost of living rockets. This is simply not acceptable. The solution is simple, make our members a decent offer.

“Unite is entirely dedicated to defending the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at VFS will be receiving the union’s total support until this dispute is resolved.”

Picket lines

During the strikes, picket lines will be in place at the company’s Chickenhall Lane factory in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

Fair day's pay

Unite regional officer Scott Kemp said: “Our members are taking strike action as a last resort. They are highly skilled and dedicated and are simply seeking a fair day’s pay.

“Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to VFS’s clients, but even at this late stage stoppages could still be avoided if the employer returns to the negotiating table with an improved pay offer.”


Notes to editors:

 The workers will be striking on the following dates: 29 March, 1 April, 11-14 April, 25-29 April, 3-6 May, 23-27 May and 6-10 June.

 During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

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

Email: [email protected]

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.