CATERPILLAR staff in the North East may be temporarily moved to Northern Ireland after the company said it is "committed to maintaining operations at its facilities" after strike action.

In an internal memo quoted by the Unite the Union, the company has asked staff from across the UK for volunteers "to perform the roles of production employees at the Springvale facility" to make sure production is not affected.

In a statement to The Northern Echo, Caterpillar, which has sites at Stockton, Peterlee and Skinningrove said: "Caterpillar negotiated in good faith with Unite to reach a fair and balanced final agreement which would include a 9 percent wage increase effective April 1, 2022.

"The company believes industrial action should be avoided but is committed to maintaining operations at its facilities throughout the duration of the action."

It is believed that arrangements for flights and accommodation are already in place if the volunteers are needed to take the place of key staff who go on strike, but the company would not comment on what numbers might be required or how the North East sites might be restructured to cope with the absences.

The Northern Echo: The Caterpillar factory at PeterleeThe Caterpillar factory at Peterlee

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham has expressed her total support for the strike action, saying: “This is another case of naked boardroom greed. Caterpillar is sitting on billions and could well afford a pay deal which protects our members and their families at a time of surging inflation. Caterpillar must understand that these workers are resolute.”

Caterpillar established its first major facility in the UK more than 60 years ago and now employs more than 10,000 people here, including marketing and sales, manufacturing, parts distribution and remanufacturing and services.

The UK businesses export a significant portion of its manufactured products for industries such as mining, marine, construction and electric power.


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