Deliveries of many of the best known car brands to showrooms across the country face serious disruption, according to the union Unite.
The union is in a dispute with Stobart Automotive, which handles distribution for a wide range of car manufacturers, claiming that drivers from other parts of the Stobart business are being brought in to undercut wages, and the company has not put a pay offer on the table for 2014.
Unite also says Stobart has refused to commit to future investment in the business since it bought it from Autologic in 2012, and that workers fear that it is not committed to the future of the current workforce.
Drivers of the car transporters voted in favour of industrial action with 85% in favour of strike action on a 70% turnout, and the two sides are meeting for talks today.
Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “We have given the company a number of opportunities to avoid a strike. The drivers feel that without progress on Friday, they have no choice but to announce industrial action in order to protect their livelihoods.
“Despite record car sales, Stobart Automotive is refusing to make a pay offer while it undermines our long-standing agreements by bringing in drivers on lower terms and conditions. If a strike goes ahead it will cause major disruption to the delivery of new cars to showrooms across the country. We urge the haulier to take this opportunity to make progress towards resolving this dispute.”
The company has depots in Portbury, Bristol; Wellesbourne, Warwickshire; Swindon, Wiltshire; Burniston, Yorkshire; Purfleet, Essex; Southampton; Oxford; Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire; Ellesmere Port, Cheshire; and Washington, Tyne and Wear.
The company’s clients include; Alfa Romeo, Audi BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dacia, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, JLR, Mazda, Mitsubushi, Nissan, Renault, Skoda, Toyota and VW.
There was no comment from Stobart.