Co-op Group’s coffin factory faces strike action over pay dispute

Members of Unite will walk out at the Co-operative Funeralcare site in Glasgow after rejecting a 3% pay offer

Members of trade union Unite employed in the manufacture of coffins for Co-operative Funeral Care have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.

An initial week of action scheduled from 22-29 August at the Glasgow site – the Co-op Group’s only coffin maker – after members voted for action by 96% on an 86% turnout.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The employer involved here walked away from the negotiating table. We expect more from an organisation that promotes itself as principled and claims to demonstrate a fairer way of doing business. They should start by showing they are different from some of the bad employers we deal with day in day out, by treating their workers fairly and get back round the table with a decent offer for our members.”

The union adds that the dispute is “a direct result of Co-operative Funeral Care’s refusal to return to the negotiating table following members’ rejection of a measly 3% final wage offer”.

Willie Thomson, Unite Industrial Officer, added: “Workers at Coop Funeral Care are rightly furious. Our attempts to work constructively towards a resolution have been contemptuously dismissed with the Co-op displaying an unacceptable ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. Our members, recognised as essential workers, deserve better from an employer who promotes social goals and giving back to communities. In the worst cost of living crisis in decades our members deserve better.”

In a statement, Co-op Funeralcare said: “Our colleagues at our Glasgow coffin factory are a hugely valued part of our Co-op.

“In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our Funeralcare colleagues a 3% pay increase which has now been accepted by the vast majority of our colleagues (98%).

“We remain in dialogue with Unite about this offer and the mandate to strike at our coffin factory later this month.

“While discussions remain ongoing we would like to provide full reassurance that we are able to maintain a strong supply of coffins.”

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