Unilever staff prepare for strike


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The Independent Online

Workers at consumer goods giant Unilever are finalising plans for their first ever strike as part of a widespread day of action over pensions.

More than 2,500 employees at sites across the country will walk out for 24 hours on Friday and mount picket lines in areas including Port Sunlight on the Wirral, Purfleet in Essex, Manchester, Gloucester, Burton-on-Trent and Chester.

Unions said the strike will hit production of Unilever's brands including Dove, Marmite, PG Tips, Pot Noodle and Hellmans Mayonnaise.

The dispute is over plans to axe the company's final salary pension scheme from next summer, which unions say will slash the retirement income of thousands of staff by up to 40%.

Jennie Formby, Unite national officer, 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.

"Unite remains ready and willing to talk at any time."