Workshop staff at DaimlerChrysler UK's largest owned Mercedes-Benz dealership, in Edgware Road, west London, this week went on strike over pay and new working conditions.
DCUK wants to impose a rotating double-day shift system at three owned retail sites as part of plans to extend workshop opening hours. It issued 90-day notices of changes to the working conditions to 38 staff after they turned down the proposed rise in wages.
T&G organiser Tom Chinnery said workers were prepared to accept the new conditions, but “pay enhancements fell way short of what our members should expect”.
He said: “We have hit a brick wall in our negotiations with DaimlerChrysler.
“The company's response – in effect to sack the workforce – is callous and way over the top. We are taking legal advice about this action.”
In a statement, DCUK said the decision to extend opening hours was taken to improve access and convenience to customers.
“We offered an improved pay and bonus opportunity in line with industry standards to properly remunerate the staff who would be required to change their hours,” said the company.
“Staff at two of the sites accepted our offer, recognising the added value to customers the extended hours will bring. We hope staff at Edgware Road will decide to return to work soon.”
T&G this week held talks with conciliatory body Acas in a bid to find a satisfactory solution. It plans further industrial action until DCUK improves its pay offer. “We are still ready to talk, but industrial action is the only possible response to the big stick. Public reaction has been tremendous – they are right behind the workforce,” said Mr Chinnery.