GPMU rejects CPI's pay offer

GPMU members in the paper industry look set to take industrial action, after members rejected the latest pay offer from the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).

The latest offer of an increase of 2.85% forms part of the national agreement with the CPI, the former Paper Federation.


GPMU president Ray Williams said members had already rejected two wage proposals, and that a strike was likely.


"Members are very dissatisfied with the proposals and are looking for an improvement in the offer," he said.


The strike could involve up to 5,000 staff at UK paper mills.


There are some 83 paper and board mills in the UK, employing 16,200 staff according to the CPI.


CPI director of external affairs Kathy Bradley said it was not unusual for members to go to ballot, a process that had happened at least six times over the past 20 years.


"At the time the offer was made it was slightly above the rate of inflation," Bradley said. "The industry felt it was a fair offer."


GPMU members will now be balloted in the next few weeks on whether to strike or to take a lesser form of action. The result of the ballot is expected by mid-July.


Finland was the subject of strike action by paper industry workers in May this year and late last year. Some 1,200 workers took industrial action at Stora Enso's Imatra mill in May, in opposition to job cuts (PrintWeek, 18 May).


Story by Andy Scott