Industrial technology company Rolls-Royce plc was set to begin handing out cash bonuses to more than 14,000 employees by August, but thousands of unionised workers have declined the offer.
The bonus would have been granted, not on the basis of their performance, as was customary, but on the overall economic climate. The payment aimed to help workers stave off the impact of rising inflation, the company said.
However, some 11,000 recipients – based in Rolls-Royce’s Derby and Bristol sites and represented by the union Unite – criticised the move, saying the bonus “falls short” of the real cost of living.
Rolls-Royce said the extra cash, amounting to £2,000 per worker, would have been paid out as a lump sum to more than 14,000 workers, or about 70% of the total employee population of Rolls-Royce in the UK.
Apart from unionised factory workers, 3,000 non-union members, primarily junior management staff based in the two locations, were also scheduled to receive the one-time payment.
Earlier this year, the company also revealed plans of a 4% pay raise for factory workers, purportedly the biggest annual increase in a decade.
While Rolls-Royce maintained that the latest bonus on offer was fair, Unite said it is continuing to negotiate.
“The fact that Rolls-Royce has made this announcement in the way that it has certainly in our view undermines the trade union and the negotiating position that should be between the employer and the unions on this matter,” Unite said.