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Caterpillar staff told 9% pay rise still on the table, but offer is final


Caterpillar in Belfast. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Caterpillar in Belfast. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Caterpillar in Belfast. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

Striking Caterpillar employees in Northern Ireland have been told a 9% pay rise in addition to a lump sum payment equal to 2.6% of their annual salary is still on the table.

The manufacturing firm has gone directly to employees with the offer after protracted negotiations with trade union Unite. It said it has been a proud supporter of communities here for over 20 years by providing over 1,000 employment opportunities in Larne and Belfast.

It has shared the terms of its offer publicly following a 14 month pay dispute and has claimed that it has made it clear to Unite the union and employees that what is on offer is final.

The proposed deal includes a 9% base salary increase effective from April 1st 2022 and one-off bonus based on a smaller percentage of wages earned in the 12 months up to April 2022.

Workers will also be given an annual opportunity to cash in up to two days of annual leave.

The terms also propose a Customer Driven Overtime (CDO) programme at the firm’s Larne site which would see staff earn 1.75 their rate of pay rising to double time if business goals are met.

“In addition to this offer, Caterpillar continues to provide market-leading flexibility with a four-day production work week (37.5 hours),” the firm has stated.

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“We’ve been clear that our offer is final, live and can be re-balloted. Unite has not given our employees this option.

“We’ve also been clear prior to and throughout the period of industrial action that we’re willing to meet with Unite to provide clarity on the final offer, including addressing any misunderstandings surrounding Customer-Driven Overtime. Unite has not been willing to come together.

“The negotiations process is now exhausted and we have reached an impasse – all while Unite continues to extend the period of strike action. As a result, we’ve started the process of making direct offers to our workforce.

“We are not walking away from our relationship with the union and remain committed to collective bargaining procedures for future terms and conditions.

“We are pleased to offer these new terms and conditions (including significantly increased pay rates) to our employees, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to work.

“We know this has been a difficult time for our employees, their families and the local communities. Our main priority is to finalise an agreement that benefits our employees, our customers and our business. Our final offer is a genuine attempt to do just that.”

Last week Caterpillar claimed it is protecting the “safety and wellbeing” of its employees after Unite the union criticised it for  offering “strike breakers” hotel rooms costing up to £850 a night.

Industrial action by workers has extended over the last few months.