Pay strikes at the Hartlepool, UK factory of TMD Friction, a supplier of brake discs, pads and other braking products, have intensified, according to the Unite workers union.
Around 150 workers began strike action over pay in January. That number has since increased to over 180 as more workers have joined the union. The workers have now moved to a continuous indefinite strike action stage, risking brake product shortages for TMD’s customers, which include Rolls Royce, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Bentley and McLaren.
TMD Friction was previously owned by Nisshinbo Holdings Inc until it was sold to German-equity firm AEQUITA in late 2023, whose automotive divisions account for €2 billion worth of sales.
While TMD Friction reported loses of £4,000 in 2022, it had a turnover of £74.1 million and gross profits of £9 million.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “TMD’s accounts show it is generating a substantial amount of money, which is also the reason for its recent sale to a German multinational. Our members know that TMD can well afford to put forward a fair pay rise and that’s what needs to happen. They have Unite’s unwavering support as they take strike action.”
The majority of the workers are skilled metal press operators, with other staff including various factory and production staff. Unite says the workers, who work shifts, including nights, without shift pay, are frustrated at the pay rate of £12.88 an hour and the 4% pay increase offered. ‘This is in effect a real-terms pay cut, as the real rate of inflation (RPI) rate stood at nearly 9% in June when the pay rise was due,’ said Unite in a statement.
Unite regional officer Mike Routledge added that: “These strikes will continue as long as necessary.”