Edinburgh workers at aerospace giant Honeywell strike over 'pitiful' pay offer

Workers at aerospace giant Honeywell’s Edinburgh factory will strike on Thursday (September 22) and plan a full week’s walk-out next week after rejecting a “pitiful” pay offer.

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Production and assembly staff, members of the Unite union, were offered a three-year pay deal made up of a 2.75 per cent rise this year and next and a zero per cent rise in the third year.

But Unite regional officer Carrie Binnie said the company had annual revenue of £34.5 billion. She branded the offer “an insult” and said it had been resoundingly rejected by members. She said the staff involved at the Newbridge factory were some of lowest-paid in the company and many were on the minimum wage.

She said: “The offer put on the table by Honeywell slashes the real terms value of our members’ pay over the next three years. High inflation is not leaving us any time soon, with it expected to top 18 per cent early next year, yet, Honeywell are offering its skilled technicians and operatives a figure nearly seven times lower than this. And the business has refused to come back round the table.”

Ms Binnie said pay deals in other sites run by the company, which specialises in the design and manufacturing of electronic hardware and systems, had been negotiated during the pandemic. “That wasn’t a busy time for aerospace and defence so people then accepted there was going to be a tough business call and maybe zero was feasible. But Honeywell don’t seem to see that now we’re negotiating for the current climate and the future three weeks, not looking back to what happened at other sites at a different time. We can’t afford zero per cent.”

Unite members recorded a 78.6 per cent vote in favour of strike action on a 77.8 per cent turnout at Honeywell.

They held a one-day stoppage earlier this month. A second one-day strike was called off following the Queen’s death, but another will go ahead tomorrow before a week-long strike starts on Monday.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham says it is "shocking" that Honeywell proposes to inflict a "massive" real terms pay cuts on its workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It’s shocking that Honeywell propose to inflict a massive real terms pay cut on its workers not only this year but for the next three. Our members at Honeywell have no option but to take strike action in order to get the pay rise their skilled work deserves during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. Unite will always support our members fighting for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Honeywell issued a statement on the dispute. It said: “We respect our employees’ right to voice their opinions and remain committed to bargaining in good faith to reach a comprehensive agreement that is fair to employees and supports our business. The company proposal offers wage increases, comprehensive benefits similar to what other Honeywell employees are offered, and productivity improvements that will help the business remain competitive in an increasingly challenging economic environment.”

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