WIRRAL Unilever workers were striking for a second time this week as a bitter row over pensions continued.
A rolling programme of 24-hour stoppages was due to hit Port Sunlight and the company’s sites across the country from today (Wednesday).
A small group of Usdaw members at the company’s research and development facility in Port Sunlight were striking alongside colleagues from Unite from midnight.
Factory workers will walk out from 6pm on Friday.
Members of Usdaw, Unite and the GMB unions have agreed to take at least one day’s strike action at Unilever’s 12 UK sites between January 17 and 29 unless Unilever returns to the negotiating table.
They claim the retirement income of thousands of staff would be slashed by up to 40% if the firm goes ahead with plans to close its final salary pension scheme in July.
Fifteen staff from Port Sunlight travelled to London last week to join a noisy demonstration at the firm’s offices.
Usdaw officer David Johnson said: “Further strike action is inevitable unless talks on the future of the pension scheme resume. We remain ready to talk at whatever forum is necessary.”
Unilever workers went on strike for the first time in the company’s history before Christmas.
Unions said the latest stoppages would hit production of its leading food and cleaning brands, including Marmite, Flora, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, PG Tips and Pot Noodle.
Bill Hodgson, a full-time convenor for Unite at Port Sunlight, said he was expecting more than 150 staff to be on the picket line today (Wednesday).
He said: “We had a good turn-out in London and made a lot of noise.
“It is a battle we are determined to fight – at the moment our principle objective is to get Unilever back around the table.”
A Unilever spokesman said: “It is currently not clear how the dispute with the trade unions will be resolved – but we are continuing to urge our employees who have participated in industrial action to give further objective consideration to the very competitive new arrangements.”