UNITE members vote to strike at AD Falkirk

Around 400 Unite members based at Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) in Camelon, Falkirk, are starting a fortnight-long strike in an escalating dispute over pay.

The strike action at ADL starts today (Monday 4 December) and ends on 17 December. Unite represents coach builders and spray painters at the Camelon factory. There will be pickets each day of the dispute at 91 Glasgow Road, Camelon, Falkirk and 9 Central Boulevard, Larbert from 8am. The strike action follows the rejection of pay offers under five per cent for 2023, and 2024, which Unite says represents a real-terms pay cut.

Unite members demonstrated their frustration over the company’s failure to make a fair pay offer by recording an 81.3% ‘yes’ vote in favour of industrial action on a 72% turnout.

Sharon Graham. Unite General Secretary, said: “Unite’s skilled manufacturing members at Alexander Dennis deserve far better from their employer. The pay offer tabled by the company represents a substantial real-terms pay cut and is totally unacceptable. The workers at Alexander Dennis will receive Unite’s full support in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”
In October 2022, Unite members voted to accept a 7.7% pay offer following several rounds of industrial action at ADL after the company originally offered only 4%.

Pat Egan, Unite industrial officer said: “This dispute is entirely of Alexander Dennis’ own making. It has had every chance to make our members a fair pay offer but it has failed to do so.”

In 2019, Canadian based New Flyer Industries (NFI) Group acquired ADL. The Scottish operation consists of the Camelon manufacturing site and the Larbert corporate headquarters. Alexander Dennis is also currently expanding its Larbert head office into a manufacturing site which is scheduled to be formally opened in December 2023. The facility will assemble the new Alexander Dennis Enviro400 buses.

A spokesman for Alexander Dennis said: “We are extremely disappointed that the unions representing our Falkirk factory are going ahead with their industrial action. Our latest offer would take the hourly rate of a vehicle builder to £19.04 by April 2024; considerably higher than our primary domestic competitor, reflecting the high regard we have for the skills of our workforce.

“We have taken every measure possible over the past few years to retain as many highly skilled jobs as possible. Despite the challenges that the bus manufacturing industry continues to navigate, we have invested heavily in upgraded facilities and new products that will underpin our long-term future. However, we also must recognise that we operate in a highly commercial environment with ongoing competitive pressure from manufacturers in lower-security economies.

“Here in the UK, we do not have the benefit of protectionist policies and indeed in some cases we are held to a higher standard than importers. This remains the case despite our continued calls for a level playing field and for recognition of the vital role that we can play to support the country’s decarbonisation ambitions as well as to sustain and grow skilled jobs.”

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