Volkswagen dashboard

Volkswagen Group faces serious delays as Sheerness dock drivers ballot for strike action in pay dispute

Drivers at logistics firm GB Terminals (Southern) Ltd based at Sheerness docks, Kent, are being balloted for strike action after the company’s management walked out of pay negotiations, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 14 November).

Unite represents the drivers and other workers who move new Volkswagen Group vehicles, which also include models from Audi, Porsche and Skoda, off ferries arriving in Sheerness and process and park them ready to be picked up by car transporters.

The ballot for strike action opened on Monday 11 November 2019 and will close on Monday 2 December 2019.

Unite said that its members are being balloted after pay negotiations collapsed with no offer from the company, warning that strike action will disrupt the supply of new Volkswagen Group vehicles into the UK.

The drivers have asked for a three per cent pay increase in line with inflation, however GB Terminals (Southern) Ltd, which is part of the GBA group, have sought to impose a pay freeze.

GB Terminals has also refused an offer by Unite to involve the conciliation service Acas, which has resulted in members being balloted for strike action.

Unite regional officer Philip Silkstone said: “Strike action by our members will seriously delay and disrupt the movement of Volkswagen Group vehicles between Sheerness and dealerships throughout the UK.

“It will also effect the distribution of new plate Volkswagen Group vehicles due to come out in March 2020. Moreover, Volkswagen will not be happy to learn that GB Terminals’ management have refused an offer of talks to resolve the dispute through the conciliation service Acas.

“Our members are only asking for a fair pay rise in line with inflation. It beggars belief that GB Terminals are petulantly refusing to engage in any form of talks over the issue.

“Unite hopes that GB Terminal’s management will see sense and return to negotiations before the dispute escalates.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07967 665869. Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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