A meeting is set to take place with ACAS on Tuesday April 3, involving workers’ representatives and the firm’s management in a bid to resolve the bitter dispute.
The news comes after the previous meeting between Tulip and Unite, held on March 27, had gone “absolutely nowhere”, according to the union.
Franny Joyce, Unite regional officer, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We met with the firm last Tuesday and got absolutely nowhere. Tulip confirmed that it will pay lieu of notice upfront in one lump sum if we agree to statutory redundancy only.
“We pointed out that that is our legal requirement. I do not see why they are doing this other than to be vindictive. The workers are no longer working. It is the company that has all the money.”
Joyce also claimed that, despite Tulip agreeing to meet with ACAS, it had refused to accept binding arbitration from the organisation.
FoodManufacture.co.uk reported on Monday (March 26) that Unite had contacted ACAS in a bid to force Tulip’s hand after the firm had previously rejected any option of third-party involvement, Joyce claimed.
Unite has slammed the firm on numerous occasions since its decision to cut the 218 jobs at the Birkenhead site in January. Earlier this month, the union accused Tulip of “vulture-like behaviour” after claiming that it had backed out of agreed redundancy payments.
A week later, the union then accused the firm of attempting to bribe the former workers into accepting a lesser redundancy package.
The accusations came after Unite revealed that staff had been locked out of the site after Tulip abruptly closed the factory on March 6.
Tulip was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
But speaking after the site closure on March 12, Peter Judge, chief operating officer at Tulip 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.”
As a result, production would now be moved to Bodmin in Cornwall, according to the firm.