Union uses report to negotiate lay off pay

The GMB union is to use an independent report into the closure of two Levi
Strauss factories in Scotland to petition for better redundancy packages for
the workforce.

The report by Professor Robert van de Meer, of Strathclyde University’s
Business School, was commissioned by the GMB and Levi Strauss to analyse the
possible closure and assess whether the factories had a future.

GMB Scotland senior organiser, Ian King, said the report makes it clear
current exchange rates were the deciding factor in the company’s decision – not
poor workforce performance.

King said having read the report he could see no alternative to closure,
which will mean 600 staff will lose their jobs.

But, he said, the report would strengthen the union’s bargaining power when
it came to negotiating workers’ redundancy packages.

"The performance levels in productivity have substantially increased in
Dundee and at Bellshill over the past three years.

"Although it has always been made clear to employees that the final
decision to accept closure would be theirs, I have now asked them to accept it
as inevitable.

"I believe the commissioning of the report was essential and it will
greatly enhance our negotiating position," said King.

Professor van de Meer said Levi Strauss’ production costs were far lower in
Poland and Spain, mainly due to exchange rates.


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