Unite blames Kilmarnock based company for ‘failing to own its mistakes’

Unite the union confirmed today (Monday 15 May) that over 120 members based at Mahle Engine Systems will take strike action tomorrow (16 May). 

The dispute relates to pay discrepancies at the Kilmarnock plant after management failed to apply an extra increase to the entire workforce, in addition to a 3.4 per cent increase which all workers received from January 2023   

The strike action will take place over the following dates: 16th, 18th, 23rd, 25th and 30th May, and 1st June. Unite’s members emphatically supported strike action by 80 per cent in an 81.3 per cent turnout. The trade union can further confirm that its Mahle membership will hold an overtime ban effective from 7am today (15th May) until 14th August.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite members at Mahle have emphatically backed strike action due to the company’s mismanagement. It’s not fair that on top of the agreed rate for this year an extra pay increase was made to some of the workforce instead of applying it to all. Period. The strike action is entirely due to Mahle management failing to own its mistakes.  

“Unite’s members will have their union’s total support in their fight for equal treatment and better jobs, pay and conditions at the Kilmarnock plant.”

Unite has been in talks with Mahle management through the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) but no breakthrough has been found in the dispute. 

The trade union 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. Unite has also accused Mahle of acting outside the collective bargaining arrangements.

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: Unite has sought to resolve this dispute through negotiation but Mahle management refuse to front up the mess which they have created. This dispute could be resolved immediately if they gave all their workers the same rise. That’s obvious to everyone but them.  

 “A series of stoppages will now take place over the coming weeks and Mahle have nobody to blame but themselves.”