Craigavon firm Hyster-Yale workers vote to strike

Workers at Craigavon firm Hyster-Yale voted to take industrial action after rejecting a below-inflation pay offer.

By Carmel Robinson
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 10:48 am

The union Unite said its members voted with a 85.3 percent majority to take strike action ‘in pursuit of cost of living pay increase at Hyster-Yale in Craigavon’.

A spokesperson said: “The vote signalled the workforce’s rejection as inadequate of a below inflation 5.5 percent offer – at a time when inflation measured by the RPI-index is running at 11.1 percent.”

The US based company, which manufactors forklifts, celebrated 40 years in Craigavon last year.

Hyster-Yale in Craigavon, Co Armagh. Photo courtesy of Google.

The union claims a strike by the 300 members, which includes engineering and office staff, ‘will shut the site’.

Unite general Secretary Sharon Graham offered her support to the workforce saying: “This is an overwhelming vote by the workforce at Hyster-Yale and a resounding rejection of a pay offer that does little to protect workers who are facing surging inflation.

“Unite the union’s members across the economy are organising to defend themselves and their households from the cost of living crisis. Our members at Hyster-Yale have the full support of Unite in their fight to secure a genuine pay increase.”

Deputy Regional Secretary for the union in Ireland, Davy Thompson, commended the strength of the ballot result, saying: “The strength of this ballot confirms that workers at Hyster-Yale stand ready to take strike action which will shut down production on Hyster-Yale’s Craigavon site.

“The ball is now squarely in the court of management – they need to return to the table with a pay increase offer that reflects the cost of living pressures our members are experiencing. In the absence of such a move, Unite will be left with no alternative but to notify Hyster-Yale of a commencement date for strike action.”

Hyster-Yale Plant Manager Jim Downey said: “Hyster-Yale Group is a long-established organization employing over 700 people at Craigavon and is actively involved in the local community. We build and manufacture a full range of lift-trucks and have recently celebrated 40 years at the Craigavon site. We are extremely proud of our heritage, our high quality products and, most importantly, our workforce in NI who on average have been employed with us for 17 years.

“Since 2020, the Company has experienced disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to deal with challenges presented by pressures in the global supply chain.

“Following a recent Unite ballot, we are disappointed with the current developments in relation to the potential for industrial action at the Craigavon site.

“Despite these unprecedented circumstances, the company remains committed to working in partnership with Unite to support our workforce and navigate through these difficult times together.

“It is essential we sustain a healthy business and remain competitive in the marketplace. Hyster-Yale Group are committed to ensuring the best conditions for our workforce, and we believe the pay award is fair and reasonable considering the current challenging business conditions,” he said.

“We remain positive and will continue to work with Unite to reach a satisfactory resolution which is sustainable for all.”

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