Heinz tables improved pay offer at Kitt Green factory

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags English-language films Unite union Unite the union Heinz

Heinz tables improved pay offer at Kitt Green factory
There will be a temporary ceasefire in the pay dispute at Heinz's Kitt Green factory near Wigan this week as Unite union members at the site consider a revised pay offer.

A strike scheduled to begin today has been called off so that union members at the site can be balloted on the new offer, said Heinz corporate affairs boss Nigel Dickie.

Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk last night after a meeting in Manchester with the Unite negotiating team, Dickie said Heinz had tabled a new pay offer representing a 3.5% pay rise in year one plus a £200 one-off payment, and a 3.4% rise in year two, plus a performance-related bonus.

A further increase for shift workers of between 0.6% and 1.6% was part of the deal, he claimed. This compares with the previous offer of a 3.3% rise in year one and 3% the following year.

"Heinz asked Unite to call off the strike planned for January 5 and ballot Heinz workers on this further revised and improved deal and this has been accepted by the union negotiating team."

Unite: offer 'still short of what the workforce deserves'

However, Unite said the offer was "still short of what the workforce deserves",​ and stressed that if members rejected it, they would down tools for another 24 hours next Tuesday (January 11) from 7.50am.

The overtime ban and work to rule approach instituted at the beginning of the dispute would also remain in place, said national officer for food and drink Jennie Formby:​Heinz has tabled a new offer and the senior stewards unanimously agree that we must give our members an opportunity to vote on this.

"However, Unite remains of the belief that the new offer, which represents only a small improvement, is less than our members deserve and certainly less than Heinz, a profitable and recession-resistant company, should and could be paying."

Kitt Green is the biggest food production facility in Europe, manufacturing more than 1bn cans of soup, beans, puddings and pasta meals a year. Staff at the site have already downed tools three times since the dispute came to a head last month.

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