A pensions strike at Grampian Foods, which supplies meat to Britain’s supermarkets, could soon hit shelf supplies, warned the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) yesterday.
Around 1,000 workers at Grampian Foods have voted by a margin of three to two to strike to defend their final salary pensions.
The first action, for 24 hours, will be taken this Friday at 5am at the largest English site at Haverhill in Suffolk.
The TGWU warned the company that the action could spread to plants in Scotland and Wales, causing supermarket shelf supplies to suffer.
‘This is a company that is tampering with pensions which is unjust, unfair and unwarranted,’ said TGWU national secretary Chris Kaufman. ‘Our members are very clear that they mean to defend their pensions and stand up for their right to what is, after all, their money.
‘In spite of the pressure they have tried to exert on our people, Grampian cannot claim to be surprised by this result.’
The 1,000 workers covering Haverhill, Cambuslang and Coupar Angus in Scotland, Sandycroft in North Wales and Llangefni on Anglesey have also voted by a margin of three to one in favour of taking industrial action short of a strike.
The dispute centres on controversial plans to end the final salary pension scheme at Grampian.
The TGWU has argued that the cuts are arbitrary and that the company has failed to give adequate information as to why the scheme should end.
It said: ‘Earlier deadlines were delayed after union pressure but over the summer the company dug its heels in and insisted the changes go ahead prompting the T&G to reaffirm its belief that the cuts programme was being forced through to deliver a stock market flotation with all the rewards that would flow to a small group of shareholders and directors.
‘It is expected to hit all of Grampian’s customers including Sainsbury, the largest buyer of Haverhill’s products.’
l Meanwhile, Morrisons supermarket chain is due to be hit by a total of nine days of strike action by 4,000 workers, causing fears of ‘irreparable damage’ to the troubled company.
GMB & TGWU members working at Morrisons distribution depots will take strike action on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th September. There will be a further six days of strike action after the 29th September.
The GMB estimated that the distribution depots covered by the votes supply about 60 per cent of Morrisons 350 supermarkets in Britain. They also supply some BP garage forecourt shops.
l Last Friday’s fuel price protest on the M4 motorway, which caused a 4-mile tailback, was a success said Martin Green of the Welsh Hauliers and Public Less Tax on Fuel Campaign.
Green added that Friday’s go-slow of about 100 vehicles was ‘just showing what we can do’.
Despite the morning’s 4p cut in prices by supermarkets Asda and Tesco, and further cuts announced by BP and Shell, he warned: ‘We want a reduction in fuel prices and unless we get it we will be back again and again and again.’