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Strike threat at Premier Foods

By Sarah Britton , 24-Sep-2007

Premier Foods has been threatened with strike action after GMB and Unite unions disputed workers’ redundancy pay at six sites, which are targeted for closure.

The unions, representing 850 factory workers in Middlewich, Droylsden, Withenshawe, Reading, Bristol and Ledbury, are balloting members on the company’s redundancy package, which they believe is inadequate. If Union members reject Premier’s position, the unions will immediately move to a ballot for industrial action.

The trade unions want the same enhanced redundancy package to apply to all six plants, They also want Premier Foods to agree a national payment to ensure a smooth rundown of the plants over the closure period. But Unite claimed the company had so far refused to cooperate.

“We feel there has been no meaningful consultation following the announcement to close six factories,” said Unite national organiser for food and agriculture Brian Revell. “If our members vote in this consultative ballot for a full legal industrial action vote they will be supported.”

Allan Black, GMB National Officer added: “To treat redundant workers differently one from the other is clearly unfair. To refuse to contemplate a proper payments system to ensure a smooth rundown only compounds the felony. I am confident that the members will support their unions in rejecting this unfairness.”

Premier denied that talks were unproductive: "Constructive consulation is continuing with affected employees on these sites and their representatives," said a spokesman.

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