Consumer goods maker Unilever Plc/NV said customers would not be affected by its first strike in Britain on Friday by workers who are fighting the axing of their final salary pension scheme.
The one-day stoppage was called by three of Britain's biggest trade unions which urged the maker of top brands such as Persil, PG Tips and Flora to resume negotiations in their eight-month dispute.
Last month's overwhelming strike vote by union members was set to trigger the widest industrial action in the group's 81-year history and a rare walkout over pensions at a UK blue-chip company.
The Anglo-Dutch group, which employs around 7,000 workers at 12 plants in Britain, is looking to move all 5,000 members promised final salary pensions to a career average scheme by July 2012.
The company abandoned final salary pensions for new joiners in 2008 and 2,000 workers are already on the less generous scheme. The Unilever UK pension scheme currently has a deficit of around 680 million pounds.
Unilever said there would be no shortages of its products, such as Dove deodorants, Comfort fabric softeners and Colman's mustard.
We have not had talks with unions this week. We believe the significant changes we made to our proposals during the consultation process underscores its value and legitimacy, a Unilever spokesman said on Tuesday.
The three unions - Unite, GMB and Usdaw - have around 2,350 members working at Unilever and say the company has not held talks over the dispute since October.
The chairman of Unilever's European Works Council Hermann Soggeberg will join union members on Thursday to deliver a signed declaration of solidarity to management at Unilever's detergent plant at Port Sunlight in northwest England to demand the company stops its plan to scrap the UK pension scheme.
(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by David Cowell)