Union calls for strike action in dispute over workers at Northampton firm

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

More than 100 workers at a major Northampton packaging firm are set to go on strike in April in a dispute over two senior stewards.

Industrial action at corrugated packaging company Smurfit Kappa in Moulton Way, started this week after a ballot of Unite union members.

A total of 108 employees have begun working to rule and have agreed to a month-long overtime ban in support of the stewards who the union says were dismissed. Unite says it is has concerns over the circumstances of the two members of staff leaving the business.

A 48-hour strike is set to follow on Wednesday, April 1 and the following day unless the stewards are ‘immediately reinstated’. Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “This fast-moving dispute was initially in relation to the dismissal of our deputy senior steward and the suspension of our senior steward.”

He added that since the work to rule action was agreed another union steward has left. In total 60 per cent of Unite employees voted in favour of the strike. Mr Orpin added: “We call on Smurfit Kappa to reinstate the two stewards immediately .”

Smurfit Kappa has about 42,000 employees worldwide. The firm had not responded at the time of going to press.