Unite, which represents workers throughout the paper industry, is preparing to ballot its members at Sidcot paper mill in Chesterfield in a dispute over pay.

The company, which produces toilet and kitchen rolls, had offered a 1.5 per cent pay increase, significantly below the current rate of inflation.

The Sidcot Group bought the mill from SCA. One of the first actions of the new management was to stop supplying staff with a small amount of free toilet and kitchen paper; a move which left the workforce flushed with anger.

Sidcot’s company director and chief executive officer Nigel Samuels has attempted to justify the below inflation pay offer by pleading poverty and “challenging trading conditions”. However he has further angered the workforce by visiting the site in a new Aston Martin which they have estimated cost in the region of £250,000.

The workforce rejected the pay offer in a consultative ballot, which recorded a 100 per cent turnout, with 95 per cent of workers rejecting the offer and the same percentage supporting taking industrial action. Unite will now swiftly move forward with a full industrial action ballot and if members vote for strike action, stoppages could begin before the end of the year.

Unite regional officer Katie Morris said: “Unite’s long suffering workers have panned the proposed pay offer.

“Members only consider taking strike action as a last resort. However the main blockage in the negotiations appears to be the attitude of Nigel Samuels. His pleading of poverty has failed to wash with our members.

“The decision to remove the perk of free toilet and kitchen rolls has caused a great deal of resentment among the workforce who no longer feel valued for the hard work they undertake.

“Unite is committed to resolving this dispute without recourse to strike action however in order to be able to return to the negotiating table the Sidcot Group needs to confirm that it is prepared to make an improved offer.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

  • Unite represents workers in Britain and Ireland with members across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.