Ballot papers were given to 739 Grampian Country Food Group employees on September 5 in response to the company’s decision to close its final salary pension scheme. A result is expected on September 19 and strike action will follow within 28 days if workers vote in favour.
The firm, which supplies meat and poultry to the leading supermarket chains, insisted the action was unlikely to disrupt supply. “Grampian’s ability to supply its customer base is not expected to be affected, in that less than 3% of the total workforce is being asked to ballot by the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G),” said corporate communications controller Alasdair Cox. “The new pension scheme is in line with that enjoyed by the majority of Grampian’s workforce.”
Chris Kaufman, T&G national secretary, argued: “Members have felt pressurised into signing away their rights to remain in the final salary pension scheme, without the consultation they feel is necessary.” The T&G accused Grampian of closing the pension scheme in preparation for the flotation of the company on the stock market, but Grampian dismissed the claims as “completely untrue”
Kaufman said: “The directors are benefiting from generous dividends but they are not acting in the best interests of our members. It is unsurprising that members feel there is no option but to press ahead with a ballot for industrial action. They are acting to protect their futures for themselves and their families.”
The sites involved are Haverhill in Suffolk, Sandycroft in Deeside, Llangefni in Wales, Cambuslang, Coupar Angus, Fairview and the rearing division in Scotland.