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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Craig Paton

Union accuses Co-op of ‘Scrooge-like attitude’ as coffinmaker dispute continues

PA Wire

A dispute at the only coffinmakers for one of the country’s biggest funeral directors is set to stretch into the new year.

Unite members at the Co-operative Funeralcare factory in Govan have been in a long-running dispute over pay, with a four-day walkout due to start on Monday.

The union’s industrial officer, Willie Thomson, accused the company of having a “Scrooge-like attitude” towards staff and urged the Co-op CEO to step in.

“The actions of Co-operative Funeralcare have been found lacking any Christmas spirit.

The actions of Co-operative Funeralcare have been found lacking any Christmas spirit
— Willie Thomson, Unite

“The Co-operative values of a different, fairer and better way of doing business have been replaced with a Scrooge-like attitude to the current cost of living crisis our members face.

Management would rather fork out cash to other coffin suppliers in the hope of breaking our members’ resolve, than to put a fraction of that money towards solving this dispute.

The continued actions of Co-operative Funeralcare are bad ethically, bad managerially and bad economically.

“It’s time for their group CEO, Shirine Khoury-Haq, to become personally involved and negotiate a resolution.

“The current actions of Funeralcare continue to tarnish the reputation of not only the Funeralcare side of the business but the wider Co-op Group.”

A spokesperson for Co-op said: “We are disappointed to be facing further strike action relating to pay from colleagues in our coffin factory, particularly given our recent pay offer, which represented a significant increase for colleagues. We were disappointed that Unite chose not to even ballot their members on this offer.

“As a major national employer of almost 60,000 colleagues that is facing into high inflation and increased costs, we have worked hard to balance the requests from our 59 employees at the coffin factory with our wider colleague population.

“The colleagues at our coffin factory are highly valued. They have received annual pay increases, and production bonuses.

“Furthermore, this offer has been made at a time where we have had to make some tough decisions in terms of reducing roles across our business.  We would encourage our coffin factory colleagues to give our proposals their full consideration and for Unite to ballot their members upon the offer that remains on the table.”

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