Mercedes-Benz Retail Group’s technician workforce is to go on strike later this month amid union accusations that bosses are adopting ‘divide and rule’ tactics over pay.
Unite’s 185 members across nine sites voted before Christmas by majorities of 80 to 100 per cent to take strike action, after the union said they faced a second year without a pay rise.
The group’s sites at Brentford, Brooklands, Colindale, Croydon, Heathrow, Loughton, Temple Fortune, Stratford and Watford will all be affected when the workers walk out between Tuesday, January 25 and Friday, January 28.
Unite said MBRG management had offered a 1.5 per cent pay rise but that was rejected by its members.
Since then, the union said the bosses had attempted ‘divide and rule’ tactics by offering a pay rise to non-Unite employees.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘This business is actually owned by the highly profitable Daimler AG which, after two years of pay freezes, can well afford a decent inflation-beating pay rise for our members.
‘Instead of making a decent offer, the bosses are now stooping to disgraceful “divide and rule” tactics.
‘The company said it has decided to award an unexpected pay rise to all employees not covered by Unite’s bargaining units, which is an attack on our members because they voted for strike action.
‘We obviously take this very seriously, and given that talks are stalling again, strike dates have been announced for the end of the month when the company will be at one of its busiest periods.’
Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said: ‘There is now a window of opportunity for the MBRG management to come to the table with a decent offer, given the RPI rate of inflation of 7.1 per cent.
‘The strike action at this time of the year will cause significant financial loss to this prestige marque.
‘The Mercedes-Benz brand has a reputation for high quality and first-class customer service, but its industrial relations are currently running on empty.’
It comes on the heels of the news that Mercedes-Benz has sealed a deal with European car retailers including the UK to move to an agency model by 2023.