Leeds & West Yorkshire

Unilever workers in Leeds hold 24-hour pensions strike

Unilever demo
Image caption Strikes are being held at Unilever factories at a number of sites across the country

Workers at a West Yorkshire factory have staged a 24-hour strike in a row over pensions.

Staff at consumer goods firm Unilever in Leeds walked out as part of a series of strikes at sites around the country.

Members of the Usdaw and Unite unions say they are angry about plans to close the company's final salary pension scheme.

Unilever said it was "deeply concerned by the disproportionate action" the unions were taking.

'Sensible solution'

In December, 2,500 Unilever workers - out of a workforce of 7,000 - took part in the first national strike at the company.

David Johnson, national officer for Usdaw, said the Leeds strike was being held in defence of the final salary scheme.

"The impact of the changes that are being proposed mean that people in retirement will lose between 20-40% of their income, which is outrageous," he said.

"Let's sit down and talk about this and find a sensible solution."

A Unilever spokesman said making a decision to change the pension scheme "was a tough but necessary choice which reflects the realities of rising life expectancy and increased market volatility".

"We believe the provision of final salary pensions is a broken model which is no longer appropriate for Unilever.

"It is our responsibility to protect the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of our business, and to do so is in the best interests of our people," he said.

The new pension arrangements were "exceptionally competitive" and enhanced following feedback from its consultation with employees.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites