Almost 200 Unite workers at TMD Friction Hartlepool stage in 'continuous' walkout in pay dispute
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Around 180 workers – said to be more than half of the workforce – at car parts supplier TMD Friction, on the Oakesway Industrial Estate, began “continuous” strike action on Monday, January 22.
The members of Unite the union are fighting for a higher pay increase in a dispute dating back to June last year when they rejected a 4% increase.
Members supported industrial action after months of talks with the company reached a deadlock late last year.
Unite regional officer Mike Routledge said from the picket line: “As of today we are now continuously out until the dispute is resolved.
"Some of my members are on £12.88 an hour. For that they are expected to do a three-shift rota which includes nights and back shifts for no extra premium.”
In December, TMD Friction, which employs over 4,000 around the world, was acquired from the Nisshinbo Group by AEQUITA, a privately-owned German industrial group.
Mr Routledge added: “They have got over £1.5 billion of work so we think they can afford it.
"And I think these members are worth it.”
He said the union is willing to return to the negotiating table but says there has been “silence” from the company.
Production operator Kevin Tritschler, 62, who has worked there for 16 years, said: “We haven’t had anything decent [in terms of a pay rise] for a few years.
"We think we deserve it with inflation and everything going on. We all feel strongly about it and we are sticking to our guns.”
Michael Noble, 33, from Hartlepool, also a production operator, added: “I didn’t like the idea of having to do it because it disrupts my life as much as anything else.
"But at this point we have got to the point where we all agree that we need to.”
The Mail has contacted AEQUITA for comment.