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Ewloe workers take part in Unilever strike

WORKERS at a Ewloe IT centre staged a strike in a bitter row over an ‘unacceptable attack’ on their pensions.

Some employees at Unilever’s IT hub at St David’s Park took part in a stay-away protest as part of the first walk-outs in the consumer goods giant’s history last week.

More than 2,500 Unilever workers across Britain were involved in the industrial action from 7pm on Thursday to 7am on Saturday.

About 60 workers – all members of trade union Unite – were involved in the walk-out on Friday, and the Chronicle understands further action could be announced in the next few days.

Paul Matthews, Unilever’s media relations manager, said the company employs 330 workers at Ewloe.

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

“There are a lot of people who have paid a lot of money into their pensions over the years and they’re not happy with the changes Unilever want to make,” said Peter Hughes, regional coordinating officer for Unite, who is based at Flint.

“They are hopeful of a resolution.”

About 100 members of staff formed a picket line at the research and development laboratories in Port Sunlight, Wirral.

The firm also has sites at Purfleet in Essex, Manchester, Gloucester and Burton-on-Trent.

Unions claimed the stoppage would hit production of Unilever’s brands including Dove, Marmite, PG Tips, Pot Noodle and Hellman’s Mayonnaise, but the company said prior warning of the action ensured there was ‘no impact on supply’.

The strike is the first in Unilever’s 81-year history, and comes after hundreds of thousands of public sector workers went on strike across Britain earlier this months to protest over pension reforms.