Saica paper workers to strike

Workers employed at Saica Paper UK Ltd in Manchester to strike over pay

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Workers employed at Saica Paper UK Ltd in Manchester are to begin industrial action this month in a dispute over pay.

The 40 members of Unite are employed in production roles at the Manchester Road factory. The company produces 100 per cent recycled paper for corrugated cardboard.

The workers recorded a 97 per cent vote in favour of strike action, having rejected a below inflation pay offer. They were offered a 9.5 per cent pay increase which is in itself a real terms pay cut with the inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 13.8 per cent. To make matters worse workers on average only received 6.5 per cent of the offer as a consolidated increase (permanent pay) with the rest being a one off lump sum payment.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Saica Paper is a highly profitable company which could and should be rewarding its workers with a fair pay increase. It is the hard work of our members which has made the company successful and it is only right that they receive a fair share of the company’s profits.

“Unite is totally focused on the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and the workers at Saica Paper will receive the union’s unswerving support.”

An initial series of five 12 and 24 hour strikes have been called for 21, 25 and 29 April, followed by 5, 8 May.

The majority of the company’s products are sold to sister company Saica Pack, whose largest customers are Amazon, Dominos, Diageo and Intersnack, all of who will be heavily affected by strike action.

The company is highly profitable, its latest accounts filed at Companies House for 2021 reveal that it recorded a gross profit of £69 million and profits have been steadily increasing over recent years.

Unite regional officer Gary Fairclough added, “Strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to Saica Paper’s customers but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making, pay talks began in September last year and it has stubbornly refused to make a fair pay offer.

“While the company is highly profitable our members are struggling to pay their food and heating bills during the worst cost of living crisis experienced in the UK for decades.”

By Barckley Sumner