Unilever workers in the UK will strike over changes to the company’s final salary pension scheme on Friday (9 December).

A total of 2,500 staff at will join picket lines at nine Unilever sites across the UK.

Jennie Formby, national officer at the Unite union, said: “Thousands of our members will walk out on Friday to show their disgust at Unilever’s unacceptable attack on their pensions.

“Their pension fund is financially robust and yet Unilever, a highly profitable company, has shown little willingness to negotiate seriously to avert this dispute. This is a disgraceful incidence of a wealthy global company using the recession as cover to raid the pensions of the less well-off.

“Unite is demanding that Unilever reconsiders its plans. The company is being driven by nothing other than wanton greed, putting its profit and shareholders first at the expense of the staff who have worked so hard to make Unilever the global money maker it is today.

She added, however, that Unite is willing to enter into talks with the consumer goods giant.

Unilever defended the planned changes to its pension payments and assured customers the strike would not affect production.

“We are very disappointed that Unilever employees who are members of Unite, Usdaw and GMB, have voted in favour of strike action”, it said.

“We fully understand the strength of feeling prompted by our decision to close our final salary plan. However, it was based on a belief that making tough choices, including changing our existing pension arrangements, is the right thing to do for our business, and our 7,000 people, to help ensure Unilever’s long-term competitiveness in the UK.”