Darlington: Cepac workers extend strike by two weeks

Unite has confirmed that it has warned Cepac that it will face legal action if it follows through on its “threats of dismissal” at its Darlington factory due to ongoing strike action.

Workers began an eight-week strike on August 14 over a wage dispute. The union says this is because the company did not engage in “meaningful negotiations.”

The union added that the company had announced that it was considering 61 redundancies due to the reduction in work resulting from the industrial action.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Cepac’s actions are despicable and they should be deeply ashamed.”

“If they believe that their underhanded and potentially illegal actions will force Unite to take a step back in the fight for fair pay for Cepac workers, then they have completely miscalculated when the union is focused on always fighting for the jobs, wages and working conditions of their union members.”

The union said it would support workers with unfair dismissal claims if such dismissals occur.

She also warned that the company’s attempt to pay severance payments at a lower rate than before would lead to another legal challenge.

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Steve Moss, managing director of Cepac Group, said: “It is disappointing that Unite has announced a further two-week extension to strike action at our Darlington site.

“This is likely to exacerbate the loss of customers and decline in business due to the current capacity constraints, including the complete loss of all printing capacity in recent weeks as a result of strike action.”

“We have done, and continue to do, our best to maintain supplies for our customers, but it is entirely understandable that if Darlington cannot deliver, they will look elsewhere for supplies.”

“Against this backdrop, it remains disappointing that Unite continues to fail to address the key issue of orders falling dramatically as a result of strike action.”

“The threat of legal action contained in Unite’s press release will do nothing to restore order and create jobs to keep people employed when there is simply no work in the future.”

Unite said the strikes were because Cepac was only prepared to offer an eight per cent pay rise “with conditions”.

They added that this was below the true rate of inflation (RPI), which is nine percent, and called the offer a “significant pay cut.”

Pat McCourt, Unite’s regional officer, said: “The ongoing industrial dispute is creating major problems for Cepac’s customers, which will become more serious the longer the strike continues, but this is entirely attributable to the company itself.”

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“Unite was fully prepared to enter into negotiations to resolve the dispute, but Cepac would rather put workers’ jobs at risk than reach a fair agreement.”

Cepac produces packaging made of corrugated cardboard. Its clients include: HBCP (whose customers include Greggs, Costa, Subway and Pret A Manger) and C&D Foods Group (whose customers include Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda).

Other Cepac customers include Mars, Carlsberg, Innocent Drinks, Pernod, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Diageo.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23783332.darlington-cepac-workers-extend-strike-action-two-weeks/?ref=rss Darlington: Cepac workers extend strike by two weeks


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