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Bakkavor slams union protest at Tesco headquarters

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Matt Atherton

By Matt Atherton+

13-Jul-2016
Last updated on 13-Jul-2016 at 14:09 GMT2016-07-13T14:09:49Z

GMB will protest at Tesco HQ
GMB will protest at Tesco HQ

Chilled ready meals supplier Bakkavor has slammed the GMB union’s plans to protest at Tesco’s headquarters on Friday (July 15), over alleged changes to the pay and conditions of its workers.

The union planned the protest to highlight the own-label manufacturer’s plans to allegedly extend working hours to 3am and cut workers’ contracted hours. The loss of hours would result in workers losing £14.40 each, the GMB claimed.

The GMB decided to stage the protest at Tesco headquarters in Welwyn Garden City because the retailer was Bakkavor’s main customer, it said.

‘Disappointed with the inaccuracies’

Bakkavor told FoodManufacture.co.uk it was “disappointed with the inaccuracies” included within the GMB statement about changes to pay and conditions and the GMB’s proposed action.

The manufacturer said it had been working to boost capacity to meet growing demand in one of its key categories. “This has involved both investment and a need for a shift pattern change,” said a spokesman for the business.

“The shift pattern being proposed is already in place and well established in another part of the business.”

The GMB claimed Bakkavor had moderated some of its requests after talks with the union but outstanding problems remained.

GMB senior organiser Tony Warr said: “GMB welcomes the company’s decision to halt proposals on terms and conditions and annual leave policy.

‘Fundamental difference of opinion’

“However, issues around the shift patterns for workers making houmous are unresolved. There remains a fundamental difference of opinion between the union and Bakkavor with regards to the compulsory transfer of large numbers of employees from one site to another.”

The union remained concerned that many workers “over half of which are women, will be stranded in Park Royal at three in the morning with no transport to get home”, claimed the GMB.

Bakkavor acknowledged “ongoing, extensive dialogue” with the GMB, employee representatives and employees over proposed changes. “This has involved working to address and resolve the concerns raised by the GMB, as well as engaging and clearly communicating with them on the changes proposed.”

The manufacturer said it was “naturally disappointed” that the GMB was planning to protest. It pledged to continue talks among all parties in a bid to avoid any action avoided.

No-one from Tesco was available to comment on the row.

 

 

What they say about the Tesco protest

Bakkavor

“We are naturally disappointed that the GMB is proposing this action. We continue to encourage further dialogue among all parties involved to ensure an agreement can be reached and any action avoided.”

GMB union

“Tesco have strong ethical and moral standards to uphold, and [they] regularly audit Bakkavor to ensure these are maintained.

“They appear oblivious to the fact that many workers, over half of which are women, will be stranded in Park Royal at three in the morning with no transport to get home.”

1 comment (Comments are now closed)

GMB Protest at Tesco HQ

Thank you for reporting the plight of our GMB Union members working for Bakkavor Meals. We note the response from Bakkavor yet the fundamental issues a of pay cut and health safety and welfare remain. In addition, the company is now in a state of chaos, transfering staff from site to another, while at the same time transfering other workers who have the same skill set, back in the same direction. Many of these workers recieve the Natioanal Living Wage of £7.20 per hour. They are being asked to reduce their working week by two hours per week so a £14.40 pay cut per week is simply unaceptable. They work an 8 hour, five day a week pattern and being asked to go over to a 10 hour four day week with less breaks. Fair? I think not. Our members also face attacks to their terms and conditions of employment in the near future. This affects all employees not just limited to those on the Houmous shift so it is only right we bring this to the attention of Tesco, M&S and all the other customers of Bakkavor Meals.

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Posted by Tony Warr - Senior Organiser, GMB London
14 July 2016 | 10h572016-07-14T10:57:34Z