Formula One, Rolls Royce, BAE, Hinkley Point impacted after ‘hugely profitable’ firm offers ‘pay cut’ 

Nearly 300 workers employed by engineering firm Darchem in Stillington, Stockton-on-Tees, will strike over pay in June and July, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday).

The workers voted for industrial action after rejecting an effective 20 month pay deal that would see pay rise six per cent from February, with a further four per cent in October. With the true rate of inflation, RPI, standing at 11.4 per cent, this is a significant real terms pay cut. 

The deal was offered on the condition that future pay rises would then be negotiated from October of each year, rather than February, meaning workers would have to wait a year and eight months for their next annual pay rise. 

Darchem, owned by the US-based TransDigm Group, is an extremely profitable company that makes a range of products for the automotive, aerospace, energy and shipbuilding industries. The company’s latest financial returns show it had a turnover of over £108 million in 2021. During the same year, operating profits increased by 53.3 per cent to £25.3 million pounds.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Darchem is a hugely profitable company but instead of supporting its dedicated workforce, who are struggling with rising living costs, it is offering them a 20-month deal which over that period amounts to a pay cut.

“This is just out and out profiteering. Unite always defends our members’ jobs, pay and conditions and Darchem’s workforce have the full backing of their union as they strike for a fair pay rise.” 

The strikes, which also involve members of the GMB, will shut down Darchem’s Stillington factory. This will impact production for Darchem’s clients, including BAE’s submarine building operations in Barrow-in-Furness, Formula One racing companies, Hinkley Point and Rolls Royce aerospace. 

The first 24-hour strike begins on 22 June, with subsequent strikes taking place on 27 and 29 June and 4, 6, 11 and 13 July. Strike action will intensify if the dispute is not resolved. 

Unite regional officer Neil Howells said: “Darchem’s clients will not be happy at the disruption to their supply chains. But this dispute is entirely of Darchem’s own making. The company can afford to put forward a reasonable offer but is refusing to do so. It needs to table a deal Unite’s members can accept.”


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

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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.