The union confirmed that the disgruntled workers would stage the protest outside the Abbey Street plant after Tulip abruptly closed the factory last week – 38 days after acquiring the meat packaging business.
Unite accused Tulip of treating the workers with “contempt” and said the protest was being held in an attempt to save the staff’s redundancy packages.
Franny Joyce, regional officer at Unite, said: “The workers have been treated with contempt by Tulip, which is the UK arm of Danish Crown, since it took over the plant last December. After just 38 days of ownership, Tulip has announced the closure of this site and last Monday they locked out the employees and boarded up the plant."
Joyce said the “meeting was to find out what is going on and to make the case very strongly that the firm should honour its enhanced redundancy package to former Tranfoods employees. We are currently in a 90-day consultation process.”
Unite hit out at the firm last Wednesday (March 6), accusing it of “vulture-like behaviour” after the 218 workers were informed of the closure and immediate end to production at the site.
The union also accused Tulip of backing out of an agreed redundancy package for staff as the consultation period continues.
Management is now threatening to only pay the statutory minimum to the workers, according to Unite.
Tulip were unavailable for comment at the time of publication but, speaking last week, Peter Judge, chief operating officer at Tulip, blamed the early closure on a number of operational and production problems.
Cease all production
He said: “There have been a number of operational issues with the Abbey Street site that has meant we have had to take the very difficult decision to cease all production as from today.
“Although everyone at Tranfoods has been working very hard, the operational difficulties have proved to be far greater than first envisaged and have left us with no viable option other than to cease production.”
FoodManufacture.co.uk reported in January that Tulip was to close the site with the loss of all 218 jobs. Commenting at the time, Joyce claimed that the situation looked “very bleak” for everyone involved.
Tulip is now seeking to move production to its Bodmin site in Cornwall. The Transfood plant used to supply cooked meat to retail giant Tesco.