Published: 14:26, 05 December 2019
| Updated: 14:54, 05 December 2019
Drivers waiting for new 2020 Volkswagen Group models could get their cars later than hoped after workers voted to walk out.
Unite union members at logistics firm GB Terminals (Southern) Ltd, based at the Port of Sheerness, announced strike action after managers walked away from talks aimed at securing a pay increase.
The action by 26 members of staff will take place throughout January, February and March.
It could cause serious disruption to the delivery of new Audi, Porsche and Skoda models.
Members voted 84% in favour of industrial action following GB Terminals' failing to allow a pay increase in line with inflation.
Instead, it sought to impose a pay freeze.
Workers move vehicles off ferries arriving in Sheerness and process and park them ready to be picked up by car transporters.
GB Terminals, which is part of the GBA group, also refused Unite’s offer to involve conciliation service Acas in the negotiations.
"It is GB Terminals who will have to answer to Volkswagen for the resultant disruption to their supply chain..." Unite regional officer, Philip Silkstone
Ballots opened on Monday, November 11, and closed on Monday.
Unite regional officer Philip Silkstone said: "Strike action by our members will seriously disrupt the distribution of Volkswagen Group vehicles arriving at Sheerness docks to be shipped to dealerships across the UK, including new 2020 models due to be released in March.
"These strikes are entirely the fault of GB Terminals who refused every attempt by Unite to resolve this dispute without industrial action, including through negotiations mediated by Acas.
"It is GB Terminals who will have to answer to Volkswagen for the resultant disruption to their supply chain and subsequent loss of profits.
"Unite’s door is always open and there is still time for GB Terminals to come to its senses and put a sensible offer on the table.
"Our members are only asking for a fair pay rise in line with inflation."
GB Terminals has been contacted for comment.
More by this authorEllis Stephenson