Employees of paper bag plant Smith Anderson in Falkland, Scotland, striking every Wednesday after having two days holiday in October taken away without consultation, says Unite union, which represents 140 striking staff

LONDON , November 27, 2012 (press release) – Workers at a Scottish paper bag plant are taking strike action, after being told they have to work for six months, from July to December, without being allowed to take any statutory holiday.

Employees of Smith Anderson, based at Falkland, Fife, had two days statutory holiday in October taken away from them without consultation – and are now taking strike action every Wednesday until the end of January at the company’s “unreasonable” behaviour.

Unite, the country’s largest union which represents the 140 striking staff, said the first 24-hour day strike, taken on Wednesday (21 November), was well-supported.

Unite regional officer, Margaret Lawson called on the firm to restore the two days holiday in October, which has now been tagged onto the April holiday break.

Margaret Lawson said: “Our members, who work in an industrial environment, give their best to this company, but think it is unreasonable they are not allowed to take any holiday between July and December.

“We believe that this is fundamentally undermining the work-life balance that the management has signed-up to, but which it pays mere lip service to.

“Our members are not unreasonable and recognise the business needs of the company in this competitive economic environment. Unite believes that management could have sorted this out before it reached this stage.

“The ending of the two-day holiday break in October was taken in a high-handed manner, without consultation. This dispute will be resolved when that short break is restored.”

The 200-strong workforce takes its holidays in two-week fixed blocks in April, July and at Christmas.

Smith Anderson supplies paper bags and boxes for the fast-food industry and is in the process of moving its plant to Kirkcaldy.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.

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