Food and drink producers across the UK face running out of packaging if workers at Cepac vote for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Balloting for action

The 80 plus members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, began balloting for industrial action this week and the ballot will close on Tuesday 6 June. If the workers vote for strike action then strikes could begin later next month.

The ballot is a result of the company only offering an eight per cent strings attached pay increase. The offer is a real terms pay cut with the true rate of inflation (RPI) currently standing at 11.4 per cent. Cepac have also said that the eight per cent increase is dependent on the working week increasing from 37 hours to 40 hours, an inferior sick pay scheme, changes to shift patterns and reduced overtime rates.

Caught red handed

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Cepac have been caught red handed. This is a highly profitable company which is refusing to give its workers a decent rise as well as combining that with a con trick on terms and conditions.

“Unite’s members at Cepac will receive the union’s total backing.”

Profitable company

Cepac is a highly profitable company. Its latest accounts for 2021 lodged at Companies House shows the company made a gross profit of £34 million.

Cepac, which produces corrugated packaging, clients include: Mars, Carlsberg, Innocent Drinks, Pernod, Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury and Diageo.

Hellbent management

Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said: “This dispute is entirely of Cepac’s own making. Unite has tried to resolve this issue through negotiation, however management seem hellbent on provoking the dispute – leaving our members with no choice but to ballot for industrial action.

“During the worst cost of living crisis in living memory, Cepac's management are looking to exploit their own workers' desperate financial situation with this cynical attack on their terms and conditions.”


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.