An historic Birmingham arms firm which supplies Olympic shooting competitors is under fire from its own workforce with less than six months to the London 2012 games.
The row comes as union Unite threatens a campaign of ‘civil disobedience’ including strike action in the battle to save public services.
Fears are rising that key public services as well as companies supplying the games could be hit by widespread action.
Minworth-based Eley faces the first industrial action from its employees since the mid-70s in a row over a two per cent pay offer which could disrupt orders to the UK’s biggest sporting spectacular since the 1966 World Cup.
The dispute comes as the Government and trade unions clash over threats of civil disobedience being timed to disrupt the London games, which begin on July 27.
Eley workers supplying cartridges to Olympic 2012 shooting stars are angry at a two per cent pay offer which comes hard on the heels of a previous wage freeze and a one per cent deal.
Now Unite is holding a ballot for potential industrial action as the firm prepares to supply Olympic shooting contestants.
The pay dispute threatens the first industrial conflict at Eley for 37 years and follows profits of £4 million at the company over each of the last two years.
The firm, which shipped ammunition to the rebel Confederate troops in the American civil war in the 1860s, supplies an array of names from the shooting world, including Britons Jonathan Hammond, Neil Stirton, Ken Parr and Jennifer McIntosh and Americans Matt Emmons and Eric Uptagrafft.
The company has a proud Olympic history, dating back decades. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Eley shooters won 12 out of 18 medals, while 15 medals were won with Birmingham-made ammunition at the Athens Games in 2004.
But Unite regional official John Walsh said: “Eley has made £4 million profit on that site in each of the last two years. For a company of that size with 100 people, that is a good result in this day and age.
“Our members have been offered a two per cent rise and a small improvement to bonuses. In 2009 they had a pay freeze and in 2010, they only got a one per cent increase.
“They have effectively had a pay cut for two years on the bounce and they are not prepared to lose out any more.