Further strike dates set in Vion pay row

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Workers at the Cambuslang site will walk out on March 8 and 12
Workers at the Cambuslang site will walk out on March 8 and 12

Related tags: Strike action, Trade union

The row over changes to pay conditions at meat processing firm Vion’s South Lanarkshire plant has escalated today (March 5) after the firm revealed that workers were preparing for two more strike dates, starting this week.

Vion confirmed that workers at the site near Glasgow will hold two 24-hour strikes on March 8 and 12, following previous industrial action last month.

A spokesman for Vion told FoodManufacture.co.uk: "Vion can confirm that it has been advised of a further two days of industrial action by Unite at its Cambuslang site on March 8 and 12 in response to the annual pay award negotiations​.

The business continues to be disappointed with the response from the union as the company has presented a very fair and reasonable proposal, especially given the current challenging economic climate.”

Rejected

The dispute began in October last year after workers rejected a 2% pay increase offer, plus changes to their holiday entitlement.  The news followed press reports that Vion’s UK business operations had tripled since 2010.

The Vion workforce voted overwhelmingly in favour of a series of industrial actions following an official ballot, where 92% of members backed strike action on a 72% turnout, according to Unite the union.

Unite convenor at Vion, Scot Walker said the workers had been left with no option and warned that staff were in the dispute for “the long haul​”.

Served notice

 “A 2% increase in today’s financial climate is a pay cut in real terms. This comes on the back of a similar offer in 2010 and a pay freeze in 2009. If you keep pushing workers like this they are going to push back,” he said.

“We are not talking about workers on big-time money here, the basic wage is less than £7 per hour, but we are talking about a global corporation with an £7.4bn turnover – the fourth largest meat processor in the world​.”

The Cambuslang site is one of about 40 UK sites employing 12,500 workers owned by Vion NV, the Netherlands-based multinational which is the largest meat processing company in Europe and the 4th largest in the world as measured by 2010 sales, according to Unite.

In its 2010 accounts the firm reported that it employed almost 27,000 workers worldwide. 

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