UNITE members employed in the manufacture of coffins for Co-op Funeralcare – the only source of coffins for the Co-op - have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.

Members of the trade union at the Glasgow site voted for industrial action by 96% on an 86% turnout, with the initial strike action being scheduled for August 22, continuing each day until August 29.

Commenting upon the decision, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham (below) alleged that the employer had walked away from the negotiating table, though Co-op Funeralcare has emphasised to The National that it has not.

Glasgow Times:

Graham said: “We expect more from an organisation that promotes itself as principled and claims to demonstrate a fairer way of doing business. They should start by showing they are different from some of the bad employers we deal with day in day out, by treating their workers fairly and get back round the table with a decent offer for our members.”

The dispute reportedly arose from a final 3% wage offer, which Unite have described as “measly”.

Unite industrial officer Willie Thomson commented that workers at Co-op Funeralcare are “rightly furious”.

Thomson said: “Our attempts to work constructively towards a resolution have been contemptuously dismissed with the Coop displaying an unacceptable ‘take it or leave it’ attitude."

READ MORE: Unite condemns luxury Cameron House hotel in dispute over tips

Thomson noted that their members were recognised as essential workers, saying that they “deserve better from an employer who promotes social goals and giving back to communities".

“In the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, our members deserve better.”

Co-op Funeralcare said in a statement to The National: “Our colleagues at our Glasgow coffin factory are a hugely valued part of our Co-op. In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our Funeralcare colleagues a 3% pay increase which has now been accepted by the vast majority of our colleagues (98%).

“We remain in dialogue with Unite about this offer and the mandate to strike at our coffin factory later this month. Whilst discussions remain ongoing, we would like to provide full reassurance that we are able to maintain a strong supply of coffins.”