FUNERALS: Co-op coffin factory workers extend strike action

Co-op workers on the picket line

Co-op workers are striking over pay at its coffin-making facility.

By Lucy Ashton

Staff at the Co-op’s only Scottish coffin manufacturing factory have announced a second week of strike action in a pay dispute.

About 50 craft workers at the Co-op Funeralcare facility in Glasgow, started a week of action on Monday.

While on the picket line, the Unite union announced a further week’s strike from 14 November.

Regional officer Willie Thomson said staff had been “forced” to take action.

Staff voted overwhelmingly to reject a previous pay offer.

Members said it was less than half the current rate of inflation. Mr Thomson told BBC Scotland: “The offer is significantly below inflation which is a real time pay cut.

“The employer is not giving enough to allow them to cope with increased costs.”

The Co-op Funeralcare picket line
Unite has given notice of a further seven day strike in November

Co-op Funeralcare, which owns funeral parlours across Dumbarton, Vale of Leven Clydebank and Helensburgh, said the workers were “hugely valued” and insisted the strike would not impact bereaved families or its supply of coffins.

However, Mr Thomson said: “This is the only manufacturing facility the Co-op has in the UK so should this dispute not be resolved it is hard to see that the supply of coffins will not be affected.

“Our members are prepared to take this until they get an offer from their employer that recognises their value, their contribution and the cost of living.”

Mr Thomson added that the company risked further strikes and supply disruption during the winter.

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