100 set to strike at Sharpak packaging site

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Sharpak Yate site makes packaging for poultry, mushrooms and fish
The Sharpak Yate site makes packaging for poultry, mushrooms and fish

Related tags: Strike action

Workers at a Sharpak food packaging site at Yate in Bristol are poised to take part in two 24-hour strikes this week over alleged changes to working hours.

Trades union Unite said more than 100 of its members were set to engage in industrial action at the site, which makes packaging for poultry, mushrooms and fish.

The first of the 24-hour stoppages is scheduled to begin at 6am tomorrow (December 2), with the second running from 6am on December 4 to 6am on December 6.

Threat

Members were angry at a perceived threat by managers to sack people who didn’t sign up to new contracts which extend the working week by three hours to 40.

The current 37-hour week at the Yate factory had been agreed a number of years ago as part of a pay cut to support the business, said Unite.

As spokesman for the union told FoodManufacture.co.uk the strikes were unlikely to spread to other Sharpak sites, as the particular grievance just concerned the Yate plant. In any case, all Sharpak sites were run as separate businesses, he added.

“The company has ridden roughshod over the workforce’s concerns and is pressing ahead with extortionate changes,” ​said Donna Williams, Unite regional officer. “Threatening and intimidating people into accepting these changes and expecting people with caring responsibilities and other non-work commitments to just drop them at the drop of a hat is totally unacceptable.

‘Resentment’

In April 2010, Sharp Interpack Limited was acquired by international packaging supplier Groupe Guillin.

As from January 1, 2011 the company’s three UK manufacturing sites and its sales office in the Netherlands became independent, self-contained limited liability companies responsible for their specific products and markets. The companies were re- branded Sharpak Aylesham, Sharpak Bridgwater, Sharpak Yate and Sharpak Nederland.

No comment was available from Sharpak Yate before this article was published.

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