TMD Friction Labor Dispute Disrupts Auto Supply

TMD Friction‘s ongoing labor dispute at its Hartlepool factory has escalated, with Unite, the UK’s primary union, highlighting the deepening crisis. The company, a key supplier of brake components to prestigious automotive brands including Rolls Royce, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Bentley, and McLaren, faces potential shortages amid increased worker participation in strikes.

Initially, about 150 employees initiated strike action over salary issues earlier this month. The numbers have now swelled to over 180, as more join the union’s cause, adopting a stance of continuous indefinite strike action. This escalation poses a significant threat to the supply chain of TMD Friction’s partners.

See also: TMD Friction’s Hartlepool Facility to Halt as Workers Strike Over Pay

Previously under the ownership of Nisshinbo Holdings Inc, TMD Friction was recently acquired by German-equity firm AEQUITA. Despite reporting a loss of £4,000 in 2022, the company boasts a robust financial standing with a turnover of £74.1 million and gross profits amounting to £9 million.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham commented on the situation: “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 workforce, predominantly comprised of skilled metal press operators, also includes various factory and production staff. These workers, who are subject to shift work, including night shifts without additional shift pay, express dissatisfaction with their current wages amidst the cost-of-living crisis. Many earn as low as £12.88 per hour and were offered a mere four percent pay increase, significantly below the real rate of inflation (RPI) rate of nearly nine percent.

Unite regional officer Mike Routledge stated, “These strikes will continue as long as necessary and disruption to customers is entirely TMD’s and AEQUITA’s fault. Our members have the full force of Unite behind them and are increasingly angry at the management’s appalling attitude, including repeatedly refusing to enter talks with the union. This dispute will not end until an acceptable offer is put forward.”

The ongoing dispute at TMD Friction underscores the tensions between labor and management in the automotive supply sector, particularly during economic challenges. The outcome of this strike could have far-reaching implications for both the workers and the global automotive industry.


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