Out of a total of 254 papers returned, 231 – almost 92% – were votes in favour of a strike. Workers’ demands include the introduction of a pay rise back-dated to August 2013 and the rejection of proposed changes to shift patterns. Just 8.3% of workers voted against strikes.
One worker, a member of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We haven’t confirmed dates [for the strikes], but they will probably start in about a month.”
The union has proposed to hold a one day strike every two weeks in order to limit disruption to the business.
He said on hearing about the decision, managers at 2 Sisters had notified the BFAWU that they wanted to hold a meeting for negotiations on January 30 at 9am.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the company said: “We can confirm that we have noted the result of the ballot at Solway Foods in Corby.”
She stressed the 231 strike votes should be set in the context of the more than 900 employees at the factory, which was acquired when 2 Sisters bought Northern Foods in 2011.
“We’ve been in talks with colleagues and their representatives for a while now about the issues balloted on,” she added. “We will continue to seek to resolve these issues.”
In advance of the conclusion of the strike ballot, which was launched on January 10, BFAWU regional officer Tony Lewis said union members had “had enough of being marginalised” and felt “let down”.
The Corby facility makes prepared salads and sandwiches and, separately, is the subject of a continued investigation into the discovery of a metal object during production.
Managers were forced to suspend processing for a week to accommodate preliminary inspections. However, a 2 Sisters spokeswoman said “production is on again”.