Coffin makers in Glasgow walked out on Halloween for the first day of strikes as they threaten that a second wave of action could follow.

Workers at Co-op Funeralcare in Shieldhall launched a week of strike action on Monday morning, halting production at Co-op's only coffin factory in the UK from October 31 to November 7.

Members from Unite the Union rejected a pay offer from Co-op Funeralcare and are urging the company to offer a pay rise in line with inflation.

Willie Thompson, regional officer at Unite, told the Glasgow Times that an insufficient pay rise amid soaring inflation was on par with a wage cut and that the coffin makers wanted their employer to better recognise their role as essential workers during the pandemic.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Workers to go on strike at Glasgow coffin factory in pay dispute with Co-op

Willie said: “Our members are out here today because at the time of the worst cost of living crisis in 40 years, they have been offered by their employer a wage offer that is significantly below the rate of inflation, which is a real-time pay cut.

“They are here to make sure that while they’re seeing the cost of their fuel, of their food, of their mortgages rise, that their employer recognises this and they come to the table with a sensible wage offer that could resolve the situation that we are faced with here today.

“This is the first day of strikes, our members are taking action for this entire week.

“They have also served notice today, to the Co-operative, of a further week of action which will start on Monday, November 14, when our members will again take action for a further week.”

Glasgow Times:

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He added: “Our members are obviously struggling, like a lot of people are struggling just now, and that’s why we believe that an employer like the Co-op, who says that they try to be a better employer, needs to recognise that and help their workers at this time.

“I think its important to remember that our workers are essential workers, they worked throughout the pandemic, they were the people that were coming to work at times when most of us were in our homes, and they feel that that recognition from their employer is sadly lacking of the contribution that they’re making.

“And that’s what led us to the situation whereby emphatically, they decided to take strike action today.”

Co-op Funeralcare wishes to assure bereaved families that they have a "strong supply" of coffins and that the strikes won't impact availability.

Glasgow Times:

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A spokesperson said: "Our colleagues at our Glasgow coffin factory are a hugely valued part of our Co-op and following ongoing discussions with Unite we are disappointed that we have not been able to reach an agreement about pay.  

"In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our colleagues at the coffin factory a fair pay increase. 

"We are confident that the combined base pay and production bonus for roles within the coffin factory remain highly competitive. 

"We would like to provide full reassurance that the strike has no impact on our ability support to bereaved families and we are able to maintain a strong supply of coffins. "