Colmans workers in Norwich to walk out in row over pensions

Around 100 workers at Unilever's Colman's factory in Norwich are to stage a walkout tomorrow over what they say is an attack on their pensions.

The joint strike between the Unite, GMB and Usdaw unions, which represent engineers and factory operatives, will see a picket line set up outside the factory at Carrow from 6am to 6pm. A spokesman for Unilever, which employs around 150 people in Norwich, said they were very disappointed that employees had voted to take strike action.

Unite said workers were furious about the company's plans to axe the final salary pension scheme, which they say will see the retirement income of thousands of staff slashed by up to 40pc.

Jennie Formby, Unite national officer said: '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.'

The GMB said tomorrow was the first date for strike action but it would be followed by further dates unless Unilever relented and came back to negotiations.

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Unilever said it had listened to feedback from employees and had made improvements to its original proposals.

'We regret that the Unions chose to withdraw from the consultation process and did not rejoin it, despite a number of invitations to do so,' a spokesman said. 'Whilst we fully respect the Unions' right to take industrial action, we believe the significant changes we have already made underscore the value and legitimacy of the consultation process we concluded in early October.'

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