Unite members at two Saica Pack sites begun industrial action this week over a dispute about changes to their terms and conditions.
Unite’s Howard Beckett has told Police Scotland the union will seek court action as the ‘lawful’ picket at Saica Pack’s Edinburgh site was broken up by police today.
Mr Beckett, Unite’s Assistant General Secretary for Politics & Legal, took to Twitter to say: “Unite’s lawful picket at SAICA Packaging in Edinburgh was today broken up by Police, threatening fines of £10k.
“We beat the English police in Court on this. So our message to Police Scotland is simple- see you in Court.
“Unite will protect the right to picket whatever it takes.”
Unite’s lawful picket at SAICA Packaging in Edinburgh was today broken up by Police, threatening fines of £10k.
We beat the English police in Court on this. So our message to Police Scotland is simple- see you in Court.
Unite will protect the right to picket whatever it takes.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) March 17, 2021
Workers at Saica Pack’s sites in Edinburgh and Milngavie in Scotland began industrial action with an official overtime ban on Sunday (14 March) and started the first of planned weekly 24-hour strike action today (Wednesday 17 March).
Unite said that Saica had a national agreement in place with the union and the Confederation of Paper Industries for its UK corrugated sites up until last month, when the Spain-based company served six months’ notice. A year ago the group – which supplies packaging for a wide range of end uses including e-commerce, industry, fresh foods and distribution applications – announced plans for a new £50m-plus purpose-built corrugated packaging factory in Livingston.
In a statement last week Unite said that the planned industrial action follows SAICA’s decision to “detrimentally vary the contracts of Unite members as they relocate to the new Livingston site in 2022”. The union claims that SAICA are effectively extending the working week for its members while introducing a banked hour’s agreement.
Unite’s regional officer Norman King said: “Unite members at the Edinburgh and Milngavie sites have had new contracts put in front of them this week. Saica workers are required to sign up by end of play on March 16 on the eve of the action which is a blatant threat to our members’ job security should they choose not to sign at this time.”
In a statement released in response, Saica Group said it was “disappointed” with the decision to take industrial action and that modernising its terms of employment was “crucial” for the group’s long-term future in Scotland. It read: “Saica Group is disappointed in this course of action; however, we will continue to engage with Unite in good faith.
“We are committed to our highly valued employees, and by working closely with our customers throughout this process, we’ll do everything we can to minimise any potential impact. Underpinning this commitment to our employees is the £68.6m investment in our new Livingston site, which will secure the successful future of Saica in Scotland for the long-term.
“Saica Group’s long-term future in Scotland is our focus, and modernising our terms of employment is crucial as we strive to continually improve our service to our much-valued customers. In order to achieve this, we must update our terms to ensure they respond to the intricate demands of the era in which we’re operating in.”