Workers at only coffin production site in Scotland vote to strike

Unite members employed by Cooperative Funeral Care have backed strike action in a row over pay.

Unite workers at only coffin production site in Scotland vote to strike in row over pay iStock

Coffin manufacturers have voted to take strike action in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unite the union backed taking an initial week of action by 96% on a turnout of 86%.

It will see Unite members employed by Cooperative Funeral Care – the only coffin production site in Scotland -walk out on Monday, August 22.

The action will then continue each day up to Monday, August 29.

Unite said the dispute is a “direct result” of a refusal by Cooperative Funeral Care to return to the negotiating table following members’ rejection of a 3% wage offer.

Cooperative Funeral Care has denied that it has walked away from negotiations, insisting that it is seeking for talks to continue.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham urged the firm to get back round the table.

“The employer involved here walked away from the negotiating table,” said Graham.

“We expect more from an organisation that promotes itself as principled and claims to demonstrate a fairer way of doing business.

“They should start by showing they are different from some of the bad employers we deal with day in day out, by treating their workers fairly and get back round the table with a decent offer for our members.”

Willie Thomson, Unite industrial officer, insisted that workers deserve better.

“Workers at Coop Funeral Care are rightly furious,” Thomson said.

“Our attempts to work constructively towards a resolution have been contemptuously dismissed with the Coop displaying an unacceptable ‘take it or leave it’ attitude.

“Our members, recognised as essential workers, deserve better from an employer who promotes social goals and giving back to communities.

“In the worst cost of living crisis in decades our members deserve better.”

In a statement, Co-op Funeralcare said: “Our colleagues at our Glasgow coffin factory are a hugely valued part of our Co-op.

“In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our Funeralcare colleagues a 3% pay increase which has now been accepted by the vast majority of our colleagues (98%).

“We remain in dialogue with Unite about this offer and the mandate to strike at our Coffin factory later this month.

“Whilst discussions remain ongoing we would like to provide full reassurance that we are able to maintain a strong supply of coffins.”

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