West Midlands police is investigating an alleged assault on a 2 Sisters worker who was leaving one of the food group’s sites after finishing a shift, claims Unite the union.
Unite regional officer Des Quinn told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Fairly recently, a member of staff was assaulted on his way home from work. A police investigation is underway.”
Quinn said the police had discussed the incident with 2 Sisters’ management but was unsure at what stage the investigation had reached.
A spokesman for 2 Sisters, said: “We are aware that the police are investigating an assault on one of our employees, which took place in a public place, well away from our sites. This is a police matter and we will assist their enquiries in any way we can.”
‘Lots of examples of bullying’
Meanwhile, the union alleges that there’s a culture of bullying at 2 Sisters Food Group’s sites in the West Midlands. “We’ve got lots and lots of examples of bullying, and examples of staff being spoken to inappropriately, sexually harassed and shouted at. We’ve put these allegations to the company but we’ve been asked not to speak about them,” said Quinn.
“We’re prepared to go to the table with them to debate these allegations because we’ve got a barrage of information that will embarrass them [2 Sisters]. We’ll go public on emails.”
On Friday (December 7) the firm warned that a strike vote was threatening the future of 500 new jobs it planned to create in the region . About 1,200 workers voted to stage three days of 24-hour strikes, starting on December 14, in a protest over pay, working conditions and a culture of alleged bullying.
'Day of reckoning'
Quinn said: “We’re still hoping this gets settled without a dispute but the ball’s in 2 Sisters’ court over that. But, they know the culture’s there and their day of reckoning has come.”
The 2 Sisters spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk on Friday: “2 Sisters is a growing company, we will be creating 500 jobs in the local area, but we can only do this by working with our employees and if there is no strike.”
Growing demand for 2 Sisters’ chickens will bring better job security for existing workers and a further 500 jobs over the course of next year, he said. But supply can only be met by a move to a five in seven-day working pattern.
He added: “If a strike goes ahead, we’ll still be able to supply the needs of our customers from other sites and we’ll remain open for business and encourage our employees to come to work as normal.”
West Midlands Police was unable to confirm whether or not it was investigating the alleged assault.