The campaign group Right to Work made the jibe after 2 Sisters revealed plans to make 350 of the 500 employees at the South Wigston site redundant.
Protesters gathered on a picket line outside a branch of Marks & Spencer (M&S), an RF Brookes’ customer, in Gallowtree Gate, Leicester on July 14.
The action was organised by Right to Work Leicester, part of a national trade union-supported Right to Work campaign to defend public services and the welfare state and fight for jobs.
The group’s call to action claimed: “Marks & Spencer is one of its [RF Brookes’] biggest customers. It prides itself on use of the Ethical Trading Initiative [ETI]. Yet the 2 Sisters Group is ruthlessly throwing hundreds of Leicester families into poverty.”
The M&S picket line followed a demonstration outside the RF Brookes plant at the end of June. Hundreds of workers took part in it, some chanting in Hindi against 2 Sisters’ boss Veepul Patel.
The latest protest came after RF Brookes added another 150 redundancies to 200 for which a 90-day consultation with staff is already underway.
2 Sisters had announced in May that it planned to cut 193 jobs at the site, because of contracts lost in the last year, including a pie supply contract with M&S. It also wants to cut redundancy pay in some cases by thousands of pounds for long-serving employees.
Since the consultation started in May, it has also moved production of pizza toppings to its Nottingham plant. The move followed several strikes over redundancy packages, which has led to the additional job losses.
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union national president Ian Hodson told FoodManufacture.co.uk that the company was not starting an additional 90-day consultation with employees on the latest round of 150 job losses.
He said: “We have got some serious concerns that people with all these skills are being lost from our industry. A lot of experienced workers are being made redundant, when they could be deployed to other 2 Sisters sites.”
Agency staff on 12-week contracts were being used instead of permanent employees by the group, said the union.
Premier Foods sold the loss-making RF Brookes plant to 2 Sisters Foods in December 2011.
It had lost a major contract to supply pies to M&S in June 2011, prior to the takeover. That contract loss resulted in 220 redundancies.
No one from 2 Sisters was available to comment.