Unite Union is warning of a tractor shortage as 500 workers plan to go on a two-week pay strike at the Case New Holland (CNH) factory in Basildon, Essex. Factory work is to be hit as workers walk out in anger at being ‘betrayed’ over the ‘super-profitable company’s broken pay promises’.

Despite hundreds of staff downing tools the multinational corporation remains confident that there will be no disruption in tractor supply.

The fallout has occurred due to CNH renegading on a pay agreement which was struck during 2022 according to Unite. The Union believe that CNH are not fulfilling a promise to calculate wage rises by the average rate of inflation over the year.

They say that CNH is instead offering four per cent for 2024, rather than the 7.4 per cent it should be under the original agreement. For 2025, the company is offering the rate of inflation as of December 2024.

The Union points out that CNH Group reported record profits of £2.4bn in 2023, and profits are forecast to stay high for the next three years. Meanwhile CEO Scott Wine received a total compensation package of £19 million in 2022, which was 310 times the pay of the average worker at CNH Group.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The pay deal with CNH was agreed in good faith and the company’s extremely healthy finances show that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for it not to be adhered to.

“CNH is simply trying to rake in even more profits by short-changing its workers. Unite never accepts attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and the CNH Basildon workforce have their union’s total backing in taking strike action.”

The strikes are planned to start on May 14 and run until the end of the month with more strikes to be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.

Strike action could severely compromise the supply of New Holland tractors from the sixty-year-old factory, which are shipped across the world.

A CNH spokesperson said: “CNH is in negotiations with the Unite Trade Union representing employees based at the company’s manufacturing site in Basildon, Essex.

“Following a ballot of its members, the Union has informed the company that the workforce has voted in favour of both Industrial Action Short of Strike Action and for Strike Action. The Union has also informed the company of the dates on which it intends to hold strikes. The company is disappointed that the parties were unable to reach an agreement and that the Unite Union has decided on this course of action.

“We recognise the Union’s decision creates high anxiety among our represented employees in Basildon, as well as our other employees, our customers, and our community. During this period, we foresee no disruption to tractor supply.

“The company remains committed to reaching an agreement, and we are keen to work with the Union to resolve this situation in a timely manner. We will continue to negotiate in good faith and trust that the Union will do the same.”