A four day strike at corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa in Northampton will start next Friday (17 April) over the sacking of two senior stewards, members of Unite, the largest union in the country.
The four day stoppage will start at 05.50 on Friday and ends at 06.00 on Tuesday, 21 April.
Unite’s 108 members have already taken two days of strike action on 1 and 2 April in support of their two dismissed colleagues who stood up to the company over ‘race to the bottom’ contracts and alleged incorrect bonus payments.
Unite said that it is ready to hold talks with the company at any time, under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas - but, so far, the management has maintained its hard line.
Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “Our members are resilient and steadfast in getting our two dismissed reps back to work and have decided to escalate the action to a four day stoppage starting next Friday.
“This strike will run in tandem with the month long work to rule and overtime ban which finishes on 24 April.
“It is anticipated that all our members will be taking part in this escalation.
“We are still hopeful that the company will agree to meet with us and enter into positive discussions – but, at present, it is maintaining its hard line. We call on Smurfit Kappa to reinstate the two stewards immediately.
“Both stewards were instrumental in bringing a claim against the company for the incorrect payment of a bonus, going back a number of years, and could cost the company over £250,000, depending on the outcome of a forthcoming court case.
“They were also instrumental in resisting second generation contracts being introduced into the workplace in 2014 which would have meant new starters getting paid less than existing workers for the same job.”
Unite members voted by 60 per cent for strike action and 73 per cent for action short of a strike over the dismissal of the first steward and the suspended second steward, since sacked.
Smurfit Kappa is one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging in the world, with about 42,000 employees across 32 countries.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite regional officer Mick Orpin on 07900 160990 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.