A brief respite in the job action undertaken by AstraZeneca workers at two UK sites has come to an end after talks about a proposed pension freeze went nowhere this week,The Manchester Evening News writes. Just two weeks ago, the GMB union agreed to suspend its series of one-day strikes and a ban on overtime in hopes of reach an accord ( back story).
But Allan Black, GMB's national officer, says the drugmaker offered nothing new during three meetings. "It's a great shame, but we have made the decision to reinstate the strikes," he tells the paper. "The company has said nothing new over the series of meetings. There has been no compromise over the pensions.
"They said they were trying to get a mandate from the board in America to resolve the dispute, but they have told us there was no mandate to negotiate. I hope that common sense will prevail and they can get back round the table with something to say. Nobody likes strike action, and our workers certainly don't."
And so workers at the Hurdsfield and Alderley Park sites, which employ about 6,500 people combined, will again start picketing. "We feel so disappointed and angry," one unnamed worker tells the paper. "It feels like the company has just been stringing us along and maybe they weren't going to give us an offer anyway. They just keep promising to meet but never come up with anything."
Shortly after the pension freeze was proposed, by the way, a report on corporate pensions noted that the pension for AstraZeneca ceo David Brennan grew by 50 percent in the past two years and will now provide him approximately $1.4 million annually (look here). An AstraZeneca spokeswoman tells the paper: "We remain confident that an agreement can be reached with the GMB union and we anticipate meeting with them again over the coming days."