Unite members in the corrugated packaging sector are voting on possible industrial action in a dispute over pay.
Unite, the country’s largest union, will be balloting over 2,000 members at about 50 sites in the UK, on whether to take strike action or industrial action, short of a strike over the 2.9 per cent pay offer made by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) for September 2013 to September 2014. The ballot opens today (Thursday 20 February) and closes on Tuesday 11 March.
Unite national officer Paul Finegan said: “I appreciate we are living through difficult times, but this is about fairness for dedicated and hardworking staff.
“We have a situation where highly profitable companies within the industry – Smurfit Kappa, DS Smith Plc, SAICA Pack UK Limited – continue to make good profits. Senior executives within the industry enjoy overall pay packages worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions per year. Shareholders enjoy the benefits of these profits. Yet on the other hand the industry is refusing to pay workers a fair and affordable share of the industry’s success.
“This is not acceptable. They can afford to pay our members an above-inflation pay deal to recognise the huge contribution workers have made to the success of the industry.
“It is clear that no matter how great the profits of the companies concerned are, they have a policy of holding pay rises below the rate of inflation. This was reaffirmed by the lead negotiator on behalf of the employers stating that the 2.9 per cent offer was the final offer and it had nothing to do with each employers ability to pay.
“We are not asking for the earth, just a pay rise that takes account of inflation. The union has been left with no option now, but to ballot its members for strike action.”
For further information please contact Paul Finegan on 07818 416 562 or Unite communications officer, Karen Viquerat on 07768 931 316.
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Notes to editors:
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.