Members of the GMB union this morning began 24 hours of strike action at Norwich Unilever, in a dispute over pay.

It comes after the company rejected GMB and Unite members’ claim for an increase in line with the average 2.4% pay settlement for manufacturing groups across the UK in 2015, according to the union. It said the company’s rejection came against the backdrop of years of increases below the retail price index.

“It is obviously disappointing that our members feel the need to undertake this lawful industrial action for their modest pay claim to be met by the company,” said Stuart Fegan, GMB national officer. “If the company does not settle this dispute quickly, then escalation of action by our members will be inevitable.”

Unilever said its latest pay offer was ahead of RPI inflation, and that operations at the facility would not be affected today.

A spokesman added: “We are disappointed that the trade unions at our Norwich factory have decided not to ballot our employees on our improved pay offer, and instead move straight to industrial action.

“We are confident our offer delivers a package of pay and benefits that is both competitive and appropriate, and we remain open to further discussions with both the GMB and Unite unions.”