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Strike Action At Unilever

Monday, April 25, 2016
GMB Members To Begin Day Of Strike Action At Norwich Unilever Tomorrow

If the company does not settle this dispute quickly then escalation of action by our members will be inevitable says GMB.

GMB members will commence a day of strike action at Norwich Unilever for 24 hours from 6am on Tuesday 26th April, in a protracted dispute over pay. The company has rejected GMB and Unite members’ claim for an increase in pay in line with the average pay settlement for manufacturing groups across the UK in 2015 (2.4%). (See notes to editors for previous GMB press release about Unilever)

The company’s rejection comes against the backdrop of years of pay increases which have been well below the Retail Price (RPI) described by members of Unite and GMB at Norwich as 'austerity pay'.

The industrial action follows a recently published report by Unilever Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman showing the company achieved underlying sales growth of 4.7% and 8.3% in emerging markets in the first quarter of 2016. Further compounding the dispute, the quarterly dividend for shared holders was raised by 6% with Paul Polman himself last year being awarded a pay increase of 24% plus shares.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said "It is obviously disappointing that our members feel the need to undertake this lawful industrial action for their modest pay claim to be met by the company. GMB fears that if the company does not settle this dispute quickly then escalation of action by our members will be inevitable."

Rhys McCarthy, Unite National Officer, said “Years of getting away with below inflation pay increases have finally come home to roost. Our members hard work and commitment to Unilever have seen growth in sales, volume and profits. However, instead of getting a fair share of this success, our members have seen the company CEO pocket eye watering pay increases of 24%.”

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Contact: Stuart Fegan on 07912 890434 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

1 GMB press release dated Monday, April 18, 2016

GMB Members Begin Industrial Action At Norwich Unilever Today

This is clearly a case of robbing Peter to Pay Paul Polman says GMB.

GMB members will commence industrial action at Norwich Unilever today, Monday 18th April 2016, in a protracted dispute over pay. The company has rejected GMB and Unite members’ claim for an increase in pay in line with the average pay settlement for manufacturing groups across the UK in 2015 (2.4%).

The company’s rejection comes against the backdrop of years of pay increases which have been well below the Retail Price (RPI) described by members of Unite and GMB at Norwich as 'austerity pay'.

The industrial action follows a recently published report by Unilever Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman showing the company achieved underlying sales growth of 4.7% and 8.3% in emerging markets in the first quarter of 2016. Further compounding the dispute, quarterly dividend for shared holders was raised by 6% with Paul Polman himself last year being awarded a pay increase of 24% plus shares.

The industrial action will initially commence in the form of GMB members only operating machines for which they’ve received training. Further industrial action involving GMB and Unite members is being planned.

Stuart Fegan, GMB National Officer, said "Our members have clearly demonstrated they have had enough of not sharing in the success of Unilever in terms of their pay one of the world's most profitable company's in UK and world markets.

The overwhelming support our members have shown in the recent ballot for industrial action in a company with a history of infrequent industrial action should be a wake up call to senior management that their central pay strategy is not working.

This is clearly a case of robbing Peter to Pay Paul Polman."

Rhys McCarthy, Unite National Officer, said "Members hard work and dedication has led to Unilever’s growth in sales, volume and profits. CEO Paul Polman who has stated that he is “ashamed about the amount of money I earn” needs to now put his money where his mouth is and share the company’s success with his workers. Meeting our members modest pay claim will settle this dispute and avoid long term damage to industrial relations and the brand.”

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