Coffinmakers in Glasgow take further strike action and warn of more to come

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Coffinmakers at the Co-op’s only UK coffin factory will take further strike action from Monday in an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Unite the union confirmed workers at the Co-op Funeralcare factory in Govan, Glasgow, will walk out for a week between Monday and Sunday December 11.

The union claims Co-op bosses have failed to make an acceptable offer to resolve the long running row.

Around 50 workers will take part in the strike action after they were offered 4% for 2022 and 5% for 2023, which has been rejected amid inflation soaring to a 40-year high.

The factory is entering a third month of strike action, with the union warning more is on the cards.

“Unite’s members deserve a fair pay award yet they have been made an offer which falls three times behind the current cost of living. This is totally unacceptable and our members will have their union’s full backing in this fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Willie Thomson, Unite industrial officer, added: “Bosses at the Co-op Funeralcare and Co-op UK have quite frankly dumped their co-operative values in the bin.

“They have chosen to subcontract and pay third party suppliers in preference to their workers who are rightly seeking a fair wage settlement.

“As well as ignoring their workers they are also ignoring the voices of politicians after the Co-op was named and shamed at both Holyrood and Westminster parliaments.

“The Co-op risks significant reputation damage and disruption to its supply of coffins by deliberately taking the decision to escalate this dispute.”

A spokesperson for the Co-op said: “We recognise the valuable contribution that our coffin factory workers make to our Co-op. In-spite of ongoing strike action, we would like to offer reassurance that our coffin supply remains strong.

“We recognise that the rising cost of living is impacting our colleagues and we have ensured that the combined base pay and production bonus for roles within the Coffin Factory remain extremely competitive.

“As a major national employer that is facing into high inflation and increased costs, we have worked hard to balance the requests from our employees at the coffin factory with our wider colleague population. 

“At a time where we have had to make some tough decisions in terms of reducing roles across our business, we have made a further fair pay offer to Unite in the last week. This represented a significant increase for colleagues.

“We are disappointed that this has been rejected by Unite, who chose not to take the offer to their members for ballot, and we remain open to further discussions with them and their members in seeking to reach an agreement on pay.”

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