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Unrest at United Biscuits may be wider issue

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By Rod Addy+

05-Mar-2014
Last updated the 05-Mar-2014 at 15:36 GMT

There is unrest at United Biscuits' Halifax site in protest over proposed changes to shift patterns
There is unrest at United Biscuits' Halifax site in protest over proposed changes to shift patterns

Union unrest at United Biscuits’ (UB’s) McVitie’s Cake Company factory at Halifax is a reaction to issues that have also been raised at other plants, according to sources.

Trades union Unite has not ruled out strikes at the Halifax site in protest over proposed changes to shift patterns that could hit wages.

Responding to a Unite statement last week, UB denied the changes were part of a national strategy that would affect other plants.

However, a UB employee told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Employees at McVitie’s Harlesden are currently going through the same ‘survival project’, resulting in job cuts, shift changes and potential wage cuts …”

Wage cut

The source said the engineering department at the factory was “suffering the most, resulting in the threat of up to a £15,000 wage cut”.

A UB spokesman said: “As is the case for most manufacturing businesses, UB is constantly working with employees and trade union representatives on a range of issues, changes and opportunities to ensure we remain competitive and continue to meet the needs of our customers.

“This is normal business practice. The changes currently being proposed in Halifax are unique to that site and do not affect any other UB operations.”

Unite regional officer Sarah Mitchell said she was unaware of workers’ grievances at plants other than Halifax.

However, she said UB had moved towards individual factories having a large degree of autonomy, so the situation at one plant could be reflected elsewhere without that being part of a joined-up strategy.

Last week Unite claimed workers at the UB McVitie’s cake Company factory at Halifax could lose up to £4,400 out of their annual pay packets as proposed shift changes took effect on May 1.

Lose their jobs

The union also claimed 10 people stood to lose their jobs at the site.

However, UB said up to eight people could be made redundant and a total of 30 could be affected by the changes.

It stressed it had found 10 vacant roles in other parts of the business that affected staff could be moved into.

Negotiations continue.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

History Repeats Itself

Ex Walkers employee having previous experience of the New Kid on the Block. He was brought in to do the same thing, and look what happened to the Walkers Swansea Factory....NOW CLOSED?? Nothing Global about that then and its not now. I bet they have been told to reapply for their jobs? If not they face redundancies or offered new posts but they have to relocate?

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Posted by Jules
11 March 2014 | 21h26

cuts are necessary sometimes

Unions only look at things from a point of view of workers without consideration of the market we live in, which is highly competitive. I have never heard once say that the cuts might be necessary for the plant to remain open and because of this factories in the UK have closed and many have suffered, its time the unions realised that global pressures on business are immense. Each time they shout strike i think i wonder how long before the plant closes! good luck with your proposed strikes i hope you all remember how it worked for the miners.

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Posted by terry
11 March 2014 | 15h59