Unite blames ‘mismanagement’ over failure to apply ‘top-up’ to entire workforce

Unite the union confirmed today (Tuesday 11 April) that over 120 members based at Mahle Engine Systems are to vote on strike action in a dispute over pay, terms and conditions.

The dispute relates to pay discrepancies at the plant after management failed to apply a supplementary ‘top-up’ to the entire workforce in addition to a 3.4 per cent increase agreed for January 2023. 

Unite is demanding that the ‘top-up’, which equates to 6.8 per cent on top of the January increase, be applied to all workers across the plant. The union has also accused Mahle of acting outside the collective bargaining arrangements.

The ballot opens today (11 April) and closes on 25 April.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “It’s unacceptable that Mahle management think a top-up payment can be made to some of the workforce instead of applying it to all. Our members are furious over the unfair way they have been treated and they are rightly looking for pay parity.    

“They will have their union’s full support in fighting for equal treatment and better jobs, terms and conditions across the entire Kilmarnock plant.”

The Kilmarnock-based plant makes high-quality components for motorsport engines, combustion engines and electric vehicles. Unite has a two-year pay agreement with the Mahle following industrial action at the company in April 2022. 

Unite industrial officer, Paul Bennett added: “Mahle has severely misjudged and mismanaged this situation. Awarding some workers a top-up payment instead of giving it to the entire workforce has backfired on Mahle and it is outside the agreed collective bargaining process. 

“An industrial action ballot will now take place over two weeks and it will give the company some necessary time to address the pay disparity before an all-out escalation in the dispute.”