Workers at the Co-op's only British coffin factory in Glasgow have begun undertaking a week-long strike as they look to secure a pay rise.

The facility at Bogmoor Place will see around 50 staff walk out every day between October 31 and November 7 after Unite members previously voted for strike action by 96 per cent on an 86 per cent turnout in August.

Workers rejected an offer from the Co-op, which was described as a real-terms pay cut due to the rate of inflation.

If the dispute is not resolved there will be further strikes beginning on November 14, with those also to last a week.

Willie Thomson, Unite regional officer said: "Our members have been forced to take this action as a result of a below inflation pay offer. The Co-op must recognise the contribution our members make and support them during the current cost of living crisis.

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"The Co-op pride themselves on being truly different and representing fairness. It’s time for them to show fairness to our members and make a reasonable wage offer."

Co-op Funeralcare insist that the action will not impact on their ability to provide funeral services, and that there is a ready supply of coffins available.

A spokesperson said: "Our colleagues at our Glasgow coffin factory are a hugely valued part of our Co-op and following ongoing discussions with Unite we are disappointed that we have not been able to reach an agreement about pay.  

"In spite of the difficult trading environment, we have offered all of our colleagues at the coffin factory a fair pay increase. 

"We are confident that the combined base pay and production bonus for roles within the coffin factory remain highly competitive. 

"We would like to provide full reassurance that the strike has no impact on our ability support to bereaved families and we are able to maintain a strong supply of coffins."

It's the latest in a series of strike actions in recent weeks, with rail workers, postal workers and more all walking out in the fight for better pay and conditions.

That has drawn comparisons to the 'Winter of Discontent' in 1978-79, and the coffin makers' strike will evoke memories of one of the pivotal moments of that struggle.

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In January that winter the gravediggers of Liverpool, members of the GMWU, and their counterparts from Tameside, Greater Manchester withdrew their labour as they demanded a pay rise and improved working conditions.

One said at the time: "When you dig a new grave, you are covered in mud and slime. I have lost count of the times when the earth around me has caved in while I’ve been digging.

"Just when you think you’ve finished, you find yourself up to your neck again in mud. Every day of your life, you run the risk of being trapped and smothered."

With the gravediggers on strike Liverpool City Council hired a disused warehouse to store the unburied bodies, with up to 150 in the facility at one point.

While the bodies could be safely stored for up to six weeks the aesthetics and the public reaction saw plans considered to bring in private contractors or even the army to bury the dead.

It was one of the most bitter disputes of the Winter of Discontent, with Tory MP Anthony Steen branding the strike "an outrage to human decency" and a local vicar using his sermon to accuse the workers of "undermining the whole structure of our society".

The gravediggers faced backlash from their own communities as well as the media, and after 10 days they opted to end the strike.

They would eventually settle for a pay rise of 14 per cent, but the images of coffins lying on the factory floor, along with the rubbish piled in the streets when waste workers walked out, would come to define the Winter of Discontent.

The Labour government of the time did not have a majority and, following a referendum on devolution that didn't reach the 40 per cent threshold imposed by unionist MPs, the SNP withdrew its support in March of 1979.

The Conservatives brought a motion of no confidence in James Callaghan's government which passed by one vote, thanks to support from the SNP, the Liberal Party and the Ulster Unionist Party.

The outgoing Prime Minister described it as "the first recorded instance of turkeys voting for an early Christmas", Labour lost 50 seats in the resutling general election and the Tories would rule for the next 18 years.