Strike ballot sought at Jacob’s crackers plant

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

United Biscuit’s Aintree factory makes Jacob’s Cream Crackers
United Biscuit’s Aintree factory makes Jacob’s Cream Crackers

Related tags: Trade union, Strike action

GMB officials have sought permission from the union’s executive council to ballot for strike action at United Biscuit’s Jacob’s Cream Crackers factory in Liverpool after talks about changes to work agreements collapsed.

A total of 800 GMB members at the site would be covered by the ballot. A decision on the move is due to be made at the next executive meeting on September 3.

GMB organiser Sue Morgan said: “The discussion was full and frank in an attempt to ensure that the company representatives understood the depth of feeling felt by members working on the site about the implementation of changes without the appropriate consultations.

“The company reiterated its wish to continue with changes to existing agreements and unfortunately nothing was said at the meeting to instil confidence that anything will change going forward.

‘No other option’

“Regretfully this leaves us with no other option but to seek permission to hold an industrial action ballot.”

The development follows talks held on August 28 between GMB representatives and the acting factory general manager and HR managers.

Unconfirmed local press reports claim anger has been provoked by new terms introduced for workers at the Aintree factory, which now stipulate scheduled toilet breaks and workers must ask permission to visit the lavatory at other times.

United Biscuits has issued a statement, claiming it was "surprised"​ at the reaction of the GMB as it had highlighted it was open to engage in further discussions.

'More than willing to discuss issues'

"UB management met with representatives of the GMB at the Aintree site,"​ the firm stated. "At this meeting the company made it clear that it was more than willing to discuss the issues raised by the trade union and indeed had proposed a further meeting next week.

"We were therefore surprised and disappointed to learn of this decision and consider it both premature and unwarranted. We remain committed to dialogue with the GMB, and invite them to take up the offer of continued discussion."

Related topics: Bakery

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