Premier Foods and union end Hovis strikes

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premier foods Trade union

Premier Foods and the BFAWU have resolved their labour row at the Hovis bakery in Wigan
Premier Foods and the BFAWU have resolved their labour row at the Hovis bakery in Wigan
Premier Foods and the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have resolved the row over the use of zero hours contracts and agency labour at its Wigan bakery.

The BFAWU said Premier Foods had agreed to use agency labour at the Wigan site only when not enough employees were available to work overtime and banked hours.

Any agency employee who worked a minimum of 39 hours per week for 12 consecutive weeks will be moved to parity pay, said the union.

The firm had also committed to reviewing agency use and staffing levels after three months with a view to recruitment into required positions should staffing prove insufficient.

“Our members at Hovis have achieved an historic agreement with the company,”​ according to a BFAWU statement.

“Having already brought about the end of zero hours contracts leading to twenty-four new permanent jobs, the action taken by those workers has ensured that zero hours contracts will not be provided by a third party.”

The deal also meant that attempts to use the Swedish derogation model have been scrapped, with manning levels being reviewed and the possibility of recruitment should the need to use agency arise.

'This landmark action'

“This landmark action by 210 of a modest-sized union along with meaningful negotiations with the company has brought about significant change that could potentially have a positive knock-on effect throughout the entire labour movement,”​ claimed the union.

A spokesman for Premier Foods said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the bakers’ union that gets our people back to work as it’s been a difficult time for all concerned.”

The deal reinforces previous assurances that the firm had no intention of replacing permanent employees with agency staff or using agency staff as a lever to erode existing employees’ terms and conditions.

Premier Foods also agreed to set up a forum of senior management from the firm and national and local union representatives to rebuild trust at the Wigan site.

Last week, attitudes appeared to be hardening as the union slammed Premier Foods for its alleged unwillingness​ to agree to tallks.

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