Strike action suspended at Edinburgh’s Saica packaging plant

Union chiefs say strike action has been suspended at a Saica packaging plant in Edinburgh following progress with talks and a new offer being made to the workforce.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:26 pm

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The rolling industrial action has been taking place since the middle of March in response to the company varying the contracts of Unite members as they relocate to their new Livingston site in 2022, decommissioning its Edinburgh and Milngavie sites.

Unite said changes involved increasing the working week from 37.5 hours to 40 hours and introducing banked hours and a new pay structure for new starts. Employees were also unhappy that their new terms and conditions would be unfavourable compared to the historical national agreement set out by Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) that Saica was a signatory to for all of its UK corrugated board packaging sites.

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Picket at Saica.
Picket at Saica.

Those taking industrial action had been doing so every Wednesday and a ban on workers carrying out overtime had been implemented by Unite.

But Norman King, Unite industrial officer, said workers had “stood firm” throughout the dispute to defend their terms and conditions, adding: “The dispute is not over but the actions of our members have brought the company back to the table with a new offer.”

Louisa Bull, Unite national officer, said the revised offer is currently being balloted on. She said the offer was a “significant step forward” as they enter talks across the UK with Saica in the coming weeks to reset their relationship and secure a new national agreement for members across all the corrugated plants.

A spokesperson for Saica Group said: “Saica Group engaged with Unite in good faith, and we are very pleased that progress has been made.

“Underpinning these discussions has been Saica Group’s commitment to our highly valued employees as we look to secure our long-term future in Scotland. Throughout this process, we have worked closely with our much-valued customers, ensuring any potential impact on supply was avoided.”

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