Further strike action announced at coffin factory
Coffinmakers at the Co-op’s only factory in the UK will take further strike action later this month after talks broke down in a dispute over pay.
Unite members at Co-op Funeralcare in Glasgow walked out on Monday after rejecting what the union described as a real-terms pay cut, and they are due to remain on strike until shortly before 8am on November 7.
The union has now said workers will again walk out from November 14 to 21 after talks at Acas aimed at resolving the dispute failed.
Unite said that with no further talks planned, continued disruption is certain and could continue into the new year.
Willie Thomson, the union’s regional officer, said the pay offer equated to less than 5% when compared with the rate of inflation, which increased to 12.6% in September.
He added: “The determination of our members to win a fair wage deal remains resolute and Co-op Funeralcare must recognise this or risk a long and damaging dispute.
“It is totally unacceptable to ask our members to take a real-terms pay cut during a cost-of-living crisis.
“Our members deserve better. It’s time for the Co-op to show they are different from ‘bad bosses’ and come to the negotiating table with a significant offer to end this dispute.
“With the full backing of Unite, our members will continue to fight for a decent wage.”
Unite said additional strikes will be confirmed at a later date.
In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our colleagues at the coffin factory a fair pay increase
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite representatives attended Acas in the hope of an improved offer.
“The employer however failed to come to the meeting with anything more for our members and so strike action will continue with the full support of Unite.
“The Co-op should be under no illusion that Unite members are up for the fight.”
A Co-op Funeralcare spokesman said: “Our colleagues at our Glasgow coffin factory are a hugely valued part of our Co-op and following ongoing discussions with Unite we are disappointed that we have not been able to reach an agreement about pay.
“In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our colleagues at the coffin factory a fair pay increase.
“We are confident that the combined base pay and production bonus for roles within the coffin factory remain highly competitive.
“We would like to provide full reassurance that the strike has no impact on our ability to support bereaved families and we are able to maintain a strong supply of coffins.”
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