Strike action likely to disrupt packaging supplies to Amazon and other suppliers
Combined sectoral management blame Brexit for rejecting ‘reasonable’ pay claim
November 23rd: Speaking ahead of an overtime ban commencing and a first twenty-four hour strike at packaging companies Saica and Smurfit-Kappa, Unite Regional Officer, Nigel Gregg, called on employers to return to the table with a realistic pay offer to avoid unnecessary disruption:
“Workers at Warrenpoint Saica and the company’s satellite plant at Lurgan, will join employees at Smurfit-Kappa in the same town, in industrial action to secure a fair pay deal. Action is being taken following a 77% vote for strike action by Saica, Smurfit-Kappa and DS Smith workers across the UK.
“Employees across all sites will initiate a continuous, strict overtime ban from midnight on Friday (November 25th). This will be followed up by a first, twenty-four hour strike from midnight Sunday (November 27th) to midnight Monday (November 28th). A second twenty-four hour action will commence exactly a week after the first.
“In sector-wide UK pay negotiations for the packaging sector, Unions brought forward a very reasonable pay demand asking that wages simply keep pace with forecast retail price inflation but combined management refused making only an unacceptable two percent offer.
“Management accepted the workers’ pay claim was ‘fair and reasonable’ and admitted that they had the ‘ability to pay’ but refused to do so blaming Brexit-related uncertainties.
“Workers shouldn’t be expected to pay the price for Brexit. At the very minimum, workers have the right to expect wages to keep pace with inflation.
“This strike action occurs at peak period for the packaging industry. These companies are major suppliers to the likes of Amazon, Cuisine de France and Tayto. The combination of the continuous overtime ban and strike action is likely to result in considerable disruption and potential delays in deliveries in the run up to Christmas.
“We are keen to avoid these unnecessary consequences. We urge employers to return to the table with a realistic pay proposal which provides assurance to our members”, Mr Gregg concluded.