Members of the Unite the Union working for Caterpillar have hit out in fury at news that the multi-billion US manufacturing company is proposing to pay extra to workers who have not joined the strike.
As they enter their sixth week of strike action at both Larne and Springvale sites, the union has slammed the “disgraceful” news that the company plans to pay a bonus to those who continued to work throughout the strike action.
News of the payment further alienates workers who were refused a bonus when they maintained production on both sites throughout the Covid pandemic.
Caterpillar made £5.6 billion in profits in 2021, £4 billion of which they paid to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends. Their officers were paid millions, with the Chief Executive receiving £18.7 million.
Unite Regional Officer George Brash challenged Caterpillar saying: “Caterpillar’s greed is on full and ugly display here. It’s millions for the boardroom but pay cuts for the workers, keeping profits while financing strike breakers.
“In a further insult to the workforce, their planned bonus amounts to many times the pay lift that would settle this dispute. Caterpillar’s disgraceful conduct only redoubles the determination of our members.”
Caterpillar are demanding that Unite the Union re-ballots its members on an already-rejected pay offer, which is significantly lower than inflation at 11 per cent (RPI), and is tied to the introduction of compulsory overtime on one site.
Mr Brash claimed that this was only the latest in a series of union-busting tactics but that it would not impact on his members’ confidence.
He added: “Rather than solve this dispute fairly, Caterpillar’s management is sowing division among the workforce, offering money to workers not to join the strike. Caterpillar would be better served in financing a decent no-strings attached pay increase and returning to the negotiating table to resolve the dispute.
“This is not Caterpillar’s first union-busting manoeuvre. Even before this strike commenced, they offered sums to workers from other sites to continue production affected by strike action in Northern Ireland. Thankfully, they did not succeed then and they will not succeed now.”
Contact the union or join at www.unitetheunion.org
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