Fox’s Biscuits factory faces engineers’ strikes

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Strike action, Trade union

A range of Fox's Biscuits products are made at Batley
A range of Fox's Biscuits products are made at Batley
Imminent engineers’ strikes at Fox’s Biscuits’ Batley factory, owned by 2 Sisters Food Group, in West Yorkshire, could disrupt production, trades union Unite has claimed.

Unite said the industrial action was motivated by a “paltry” pay offer that workers had received and could affect operations.

However, a spokeswoman for 2 Sisters told FoodManufacture.co.uk said: “We note the news from Unite about potential action next week by engineering colleagues at Batley.

“We are still in dialogue with Unite and their members and working hard to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution and avoid this. However, in the event of action taking place, we do not expect this to impact on our service to customers.”

A total of 42 engineers, all Unite members, would be taking part in a series of stoppages, the union said. That would mean no engineering cover for the six hour period from 04.00–10.00 next Tuesday (April 21) and Thursday (April 23).

Angry

The engineers at the Wellington Street site were angry at the one per cent offer for the year, starting on August 1 2014, with a further two per cent from August 1 this year, claimed Unite. They voted by 65% in favour of strike action.

“We believe that the offer for the pay year due to have started last August is paltry and insulting and the offer for year two is not much better,”​ said Unite regional officer Sarah Mitchell. 

“The fact that the company did not even come to us with an offer until November 17, despite two previous meetings makes it worse and leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

‘Production disrupted’

“We expect biscuit production to be disrupted and we call on the management to sit down with us to discuss a realistic pay offer from this profitable company before our members strike next week.”

Last month it emerged that 91 jobs were threatened at the Batley plant, which had entered a 45-day consultation period over the potential job losses as part of UK-wide redundancies​.

2 Sisters released a statement at the time saying: “As part of the on-going relaunch of our brands and making our business fit for the future, Fox’s Biscuits can confirm we will be entering into a period of consultation with some of our colleagues at our sites across the UK.

“Following a strategic internal review, we are proposing to consult with colleagues throughout the business in a number of functional areas at our five main manufacturing, commercial and support locations.

‘Minimise impact’

“It is far too early to say what impact this will have, but some roles will regrettably be at risk of redundancy. However, we will be working hard with colleagues to minimise the impact of our proposals and look at all alternative options, including voluntary redundancy, redeployments and the creation of some new roles.

“Our primary focus now will be to support our colleagues during the 45-day consultation process.”

2 Sisters acquired its three biscuit factories in Batley, Kirkham and Uttoxeter when it bought Fox’s Biscuits as part of its larger acquisition of Northern Foods in 2011.

According to 2 Sisters’ website, the Kirkham facility produces 50,000t of biscuits a year, while the Batley plant produces 25,000t annually. 

Related topics: Bakery

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2 comments

rationalisation - indeed

Posted by caroline,

yes - this is what the owner seems to do - buys companies and once his books are balanced - he closes them down; He should not be allowed to do this !!

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Rationalisation

Posted by alan jolly,

Is this another example of takeovers to boost a company balance sheet, which is inevitably followed by rationalisations and closures to cut costs.

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