Unilever changes pension proposals ahead of ballot

By Dan Colombini

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever has made its workers a new offer following strikes at its UK sites
Unilever has made its workers a new offer following strikes at its UK sites

Related tags Trade union Strike action

The row over changes to workers’ pensions at Marmite maker Unilever has moved closer to resolution after Unite the union revealed that the firm had made changes to its controversial proposals.

A response from Unilever staff is now expected on March 12 following the results of a ballot, involving workers from all of the firm’s sites across the UK.

Jenny Formby, national officer at Unite, confirmed that the consumer goods giant had moderated its offer but warned that further strikes could be on the horizon if the workers’ demands were not satisfied.

Consider these proposals

She told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “There have been some changes to Unilever’s proposals. We want our members to consider these proposals and an announcement will be made after the ballot process has been completed.

“Either they will find the new offers acceptable or we’ll continue to fight for our cause. I have high hopes for our members​.”

Formby said she was unable to reveal any further information while the ballot process was still on-going but confirmed that an announcement would be made later this month.

The ballot results will now go to the reps and they will decide what action we will take​,” she added.

The changes to Unilever’s proposals come after the firm agreed to re-enter talks with the unions through advisory, conciliation and arbitration service ACAS early last month.

This followed the completion of 11 days of strikes, involving 4,000 staff, at 12 Unilever sites across the UK.

Constructive talks

A spokeswoman for Unilever told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Following constructive talks on 9 and 10 February at ACAS, Unilever set out arrangements which represent the company’s final position in the hope that they provide a way to resolve the current dispute.

“The unions have confirmed that these improved arrangements will now be put forward to their members​.”

Last month, Unite the union said its members were “as defiant as ever​” and warned Unilever that should the talks not end well, further strike action would be on the cards.

Speaking at the time, Formby told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “If Unilever does not sit down and listen to our members demands, it will have another strike on its hands.”

This would further affect production of many popular brands, including Pot Noodle and Hellman’s mayonnaise, according to the unions.

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