Strike called off at Northampton packaging firm - but industrial action could still be ‘on the cards’

The Smurfit Kappa headquarters in Moulton Way, Northampton.
The Smurfit Kappa headquarters in Moulton Way, Northampton.

A proposed strike which would have seen more than 100 employees stop work at a Northampton packaging company has been called off.

A total of 108 workers at Moulton Way-based Smurfit Kappa were due to start a four-day strike on Friday, April 17, over the way in which two employees were allegedly sacked.

But today Unite, the union leading the industrial action at the firm, has called it off to allow the appeals of the two sacked senior stewards to be heard on Friday.

Unite regional officer, Mick Orpin, said: “The four-day strike scheduled from Friday is suspended to allow the appeals of the two stewards, whose treatment by management is at the centre of this dispute, to be heard.

“There will be a mass meeting on Sunday to discuss the result of the appeals. Obviously, if the appeals fail, the strike remains very much on the cards.

“However, we are hopeful of a successful outcome, so we can rebuild relations with the company for the benefit of all.”

Unite members took part in two days of strike action on April 1 and 2 in support of the dismissed colleagues, who had been involved in a dispute with Smurfit Kappa bosses over bonus payments.

The 108 Unite members voted 60 per cent in favour of strike action after the dismissals.

Smurfit Kappa is one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging in the world, with about 42,000 employees across 32 countries.