Oct 7 2010 Hamilton Advertiser
STRIKE action is set to continue at Tunnock’s after workers rejected a two per cent pay offer this week.
Company bosses have expressed their disappointment at the development.
Management and union members are now expected to return to the negotiating table to hammer out a new deal.
Following a ballot which closed on Monday, it was announced that staff at the Uddingston biscuit factory had turned down the revised offer from bosses.
Workers have already staged two 24-hour strikes last month, with further action now expected next week.
Two 48-hour strikes have now been planned, with action set to take place from 7am on Tuesday until 7am on Thursday next week. Further discontinuous strike action will take place between Monday, October 18, and Wednesday, October 20.
More than 500 staff at the confectionery firm had also rejected an earlier offer of a 1.43 per cent pay increase and the scrapping of an overtime bonus for weekend working.
However, members of the union UNITE are now hoping that a planned meeting involving the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) will lead to a resolution to the dispute.
UNITE regional officer Derek Ormston said that members are determined to secure a “fair pay offer”.
He said: “We have now informed the company of further strike dates this month but we have agreed to go to conciliation service ACAS where we would hope the company will improve their offer. If there is an improved offer made by the employers we will be re-balloting our members.”
Union chiefs had earlier said the Tunnock’s workforce had over the past few years accepted low pay offers to help the company through difficult economic times.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Tunnock’s management accused UNITE of poor communication with its members.
She said: “Contrary to earlier reports, the offer of a full two per cent backdated to July 1 was made on September 15 but it was conditional on the union negotiating committee recommending their members accept it.
“The union refused to recommend the offer, but as far as we understand from our workforce, the fact that a conditional offer was made at all, was poorly communicated to them.”
Speaking on behalf of the directors, managing director Boyd Tunnock said “Our staff’s level of pay is in line with, or above, our local competitors and they also enjoy a generous benefits package.
“In order to secure long-term stability and growth, in the last two years £5.8million has been invested in plant and machinery to ensure our competitiveness.
“We have worked hard for 120 years to grow a successful business and develop internationally renowned brands, providing secure employment for our workforce.
“We are currently considering our response to this disappointing result.”