Workers at Cepac in Darlington started four weeks of strike action on 14 August 2023 following a dispute over pay and working conditions.
Due to end on 11 September, more than 90 members of trade union Unite are taking part in the industrial action.
Cepac produces corrugated packaging for food and drink manufacturing clients including Mars, Carlsberg, Innocent, Pernod, C&D Foods Group and Diageo. It also supplies foodservice brands Greggs, Costa Coffee, Subway and Pret a Manger.
The manufacturer is headquartered in Rotherham and has locations in Rawcliffe and Doncaster as well as Darlington.
Workers were offered an 8% pay rise but that was rejected due to added conditions such as longer hours, lower overtime rates and a change in shift patterns.
Packaging shortages expected
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Cepac’s pay offer has more strings attached than an orchestra, there is no way our members will accept worse conditions. This is a wealthy company that can fully afford to make a fair pay offer but is instead trying to cut terms to boost profits.
“Unite does what it says on the trade union tin and always puts the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first. The workers at Cepac will receive the union’s complete support.”
Meanwhile, Unite regional officer Pat McCourt has predicted that the strike will lead to packaging shortages across the food and drink industry.
“Unite has bent over backwards to try to secure an agreement and not only has the company refused to listen, it is making further threats to our members,” McCourt added.
Strike will ‘seriously damage’ Cepac business
In response to the news, Cepac managing director Steve Moss said that strike action “threatens the stability and future” of the business.
“We shall of course continue to take actions to seek to minimise disruption to our customer base,” Moss added.
“We have already been forced to postpone significant investment projects due to the adverse impact of the uncertainty created by this industrial action and to relocate new machinery elsewhere in our Group.”