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March 5, 2012

UK: Vion staff prepare for strike action over pay dispute

Workers at UK meat firm Vion are set to participate in further industrial action as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.

Workers at UK meat firm Vion are set to participate in further industrial action as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.

In a statement last week, Unite the union said it has served notice to management of the Cambuslang-based meat processing giant announcing their intention to take two 24-hour stirkes on 8 and 12 March. The two strike days follow a 24-hour strike, which took place on 20 February.

Workers and unions have been in discussions with Vion since October last year, following their rejection of a 2% pay increase and changes to holiday entitlement.

The union said this had followed reports that Vion’s UK business operations had “tripled” its profits from 2010.

In May last year, Vion booked a full year net profit of EUR80m (US$112.8m) for 2010, up from EUR62m in 2009.

“A 2% increase in today’s financial climate is a pay cut in real terms,” said Unite convenor Scot Walker. “This comes on the back of a similar offer in 2010 and a pay freeze in 2009. If you keep pushing workers like this they are going to push back.

“The workforce has been left with no option, we have even been to ACAS to try and get a resolution but the company refused to budge,” he added. “We hope Vion will reconsider but they should know that we are prepared to dig-in for the long haul.”

In October last year, Vion announced its intention to potentially abandon organic poultry because of reduced demand from UK consumers.

The news followed confirmation of plans to close Vion’s Sheffield sausage site in the UK, with the potential loss of 205 jobs. A month later and the company announced plans to revamp one of its UK poultry sites, putting 115 jobs on the line.

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