Strike follows decisive rejection of inadequate last minute pay offer with 70% majority

Solidarity with workforce has already led to cancellation of visit by client Martin Baker

Members of Unite the union working at RLC Langford Lodge Ltd, a leading manufacturer of parts for the defence and civil aerospace sector, are to commence a first week of strike action tomorrow [Monday 26th June]. Pickets will be established at factory gates at the Crumlin site from dawn and will be maintained until midnight on July 2nd.

The strike is an escalation of a pre-existing overtime ban in which workers are refusing to work outside their contracted hours or answer electronic devices. The strike will shutdown production at the factory at which 200 are employed.

Langford Lodge bosses are claiming an inability to meet the workforce pay claim of a 10% increase. In a last ditch attempt to head off industrial action, the company offered workers just 4.75% with a one-off, non-consolidated payment of £750. This was decisively rejected in a ballot vote with a majority of 70%.

Despite claiming an inability to pay, company bosses have refused to open their books to union representatives and hand over up-to-date management accounts. The latest published accounts are for the year to end June 2021 which show a pre-tax profit of £2.7 million on turnover of £37.5 million. In the same year the company paid dividends worth £3.5 million – more than the company earned.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham offered her union’s complete backing to the striking workers.

“Langford Lodge has made huge profits through the efforts of its committed workforce and indeed their last accounts show that they were happy to pay out more to shareholders than they earned.

“It is hard to reconcile the willingness of management to bleed this company dry for the benefit of shareholders with their refusal to meet the pay demand of their own employees. In entering this strike, the Langford Lodge workers know that they can count on the full support of Unite in their fight for improved pay and respect.”

In a communication issued to all workers in recent days, company bosses warned that the sight of pickets might prejudice future contracts with the Martin Baker, a key client which was due to visit the site in the coming week. However Martin Baker representatives – which is also unionised by Unite – cancelled their visit in a show of solidarity with the Crumlin workers.

Kieran Ellison is Unite Regional Officer for the workforce and he commented:

“There is simply no trust among the workforce in this management. They tell us they can’t afford anything more but refuse to open their books and hand over the latest management accounts.

“On the eve of strike action they levelled a false threat and made a totally inadequate improved offer which has been rejected decisively by Unite’s membership. These manouevres have only redoubled our members’ determination. This strike is now proceeding. To end it management must now to return to the negotiating table with a pay increase that offers their own employees genuine protection in the current cost of living crisis.”