Unite the union has today (Tuesday, 1 March) confirmed that its membership at MAHLE Engine Systems based in Kilmarnock have voted for industrial action in a dispute over pay, terms and conditions.

The ballot involved around 130 workers at the plant’s materials unit. 89 per cent of Unite’s members supported strike action in a ballot turnout of 82.4 per cent. Over 95 per cent of the workers also supported taking action short of a strike including an overtime ban.

The workers will take part in three 7-day periods of strike action starting at 7.30am on 14 to 21 March, 28 March to 4 April, and 11 to 18 April. There will also be a continuous ban on overtime starting at 07:30am on 14 March.

The workers are contesting the current holiday entitlement provisions and contractual clauses which can shut the plant down for two weeks at any given period. The plant makes high-quality components for motorsport engines, combustion engines and electric vehicles.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “This is a resounding mandate for industrial action at Mahle which comes in the wake of successive rounds of cuts over many years.  Quite clearly, these highly skilled workers have had enough and MAHLE would be wise to think again.

“Unite’s members are fighting to improve their conditions and entitlements at MAHLE, and they have our full support in fighting for better jobs, terms and conditions at the plant in Kilmarnock.”

Unite industrial officer, Paul Bennett added: “The dispute at MAHLE centres on the holiday entitlements of our members. We have tried to resolve this in discussions but with no progress made, there is growing anger and resentment towards the company. 

“Industrial action is set to hit the plant in the coming weeks unless the company changes tack. We ask MAHLE to engage with Unite to provide a solution which addresses our members’ concerns and prevents an escalation in the dispute.”

In September 2020, the German owned company announced in mid-September that it was planning to reduce its workforce by 7,600 people in response to the industry collapse caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

MAHLE specifically cited a weakening of the global demand in passenger car and truck sales with vehicle markets not expected to recover for some years as the primary cause for the massive job cuts. 


Notes to Editors

The discontinuous strike action as follows:

  • Commencing at 07:30 hours on 14th March 2022 and continuing up to 21st March 2022 when the action will conclude at 07:29 hours;
  • Commencing at 07:30 hours on 28th March 2022 and continuing up to 4th April 2022 when the action will conclude at 07:29 hours;
  • Commencing at 07:30 hours on 11th April 2022 and continuing up to 18th April 2022 when the action will conclude at 07:29 hours

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