Bosses at the site, which makes prepared vegetables, salads and fruits for the supermarkets, blamed “difficult trading conditions… reduced sales volumes and higher raw material costs” for the restructuring, but stressed that there have been no compulsory redundancies for hourly-paid staff.
A spokesman added: “144 hourly-paid employees have requested to take the enhanced voluntary redundancy package. The remainder of affected hourly paid staff have agreed to changes in working patterns or accepted positions elsewhere in the company.
“But with regret, there will be 35 salaried staff redundancies which are mainly compulsory.”
The following conditions had also been agreed for hourly-paid staff going forward, he said:
- No reduction in pay rates for any existing permanent worker.
- New starter rates will increase to existing permanent rates within two years.
- An enhanced redundancy scheme has been agreed.
- Overtime working with premia will be paid after contractual hours.
Unite: Major concessions
Steve Nesbitt, an organiser for the Unite trade union, told FoodManufacture.co.uk he was pleased the union had managed to secure these concessions from the company during the 90-day consultation period.
He added: “We’ve obviously very disappointed that things have come to this but we are very pleased we have managed to secure pay rates for existing staff and ensure that new starters will get up to the same pay rates as existing staff within two years. We want to work positively the company going forward.”
Bakkavör, which has recently resolved a protracted dispute with staff at its pizza plant in Harrow, posted a 24.6% rise in earnings (before interest tax, depreciation and goodwill amortisation) to £135.1m on sales of £1.65bn in 2009.