Pensions prompt Unilever workers to vote for strike - report

LONDON Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:22am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Employees at consumer products group Unilever in Britain have voted overwhelmingly in support of striking to protest against the company's plans to close its final salary pension scheme, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The Anglo-Dutch company, which makes products ranging from Marmite yeast extract to Persil laundry detergent, expressed disappointment with the outcome of the ballot organised by the Unite, GMB and Usdaw unions, the newspaper said.

"We could be at a point where people do strike. That's regrettable," Alan Walters, human resources vice-president at Unilever UK, was quoted as saying.

Strike action, which is likely to take place at 12 sites next month, was voted for by some 85 percent of Unite union's Unilever members while GMB's members voted three-to-one in support of strike action, the FT reported.

"The vote also shows that ordinary workers will not stand idly by to watch profitable employers like Unilever jumping on the pension's robbery bandwagon," Alan Black, national officer at the GMB, was quoted as saying.

Unilever said consumers would not suffer from the strikes to be held over the company's plans to close its final salary pension scheme in April, according to the article.

The unions will set dates for the strike action once they have conveyed the ballot's outcome to Unilever and held discussions with all of the unions involved, the FT said.

Unilever and the unions were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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