Bakkavor confirmed that about 280 weekly paid and 30 salaried staff were at risk of redundancy but the firm hoped to keep redundancies below 100 by adjusting shift patterns.
The redundancy consultation affects Bakkavor Meals employees who work across the company’s three Park Royal sites – Cumberland, Elveden and Premier Park – in London.
GMB senior organiser Tony Warr said the affected workers were being put on notice of redundancy following the loss of business from Tesco.
‘£32M of Tesco business’
“Bakkavor Meals, Park Royal, has advised the GMB of the loss of £32M worth of Tesco business (mash and other potato lines) equivalent to 16% of turnover,” he said.
In a bid to mitigate job losses, he said Bakkavor had a proposed a new shift pattern made possible by growth in houmous volumes.
It was hoped that the new shift pattern would reduce job losses to 77, partly by removing agency staff and moving fixed-term contract workers into permanent positions.
But as part of this plan, the union warned that employees would have to accept changes to employment terms and conditions, including reduced hours and lower pay.
“GMB believes it is wrong and totally unnecessary for the company to cut our members’ hours and pay,” he said.
“The company has sought to use the redundancy situation to consult on reductions in terms and conditions.
‘Step too far’
“This is a step too far and will be strongly resisted.”
A Bakkavor statement said the business had been hit by “difficult trading conditions” and needed to adapt to the changing, highly competitive market place.
“Bakkavor Meals appreciates that this is an unsettling and difficult time for everyone affected and would like to stress that this proposal in no way reflects the commitment and hard work of the employees at the site,” the statement said.
“The company will work closely with the representatives to keep all staff appropriately updated throughout the consultation period.”
The consultation process is due to last 45 days. A Bakkavor spokesman declined to comment on whether the company had lost business with Tesco.
Statement from company
“Bakkavor Meals appreciates that this is an unsettling and difficult time for everyone affected and would like to stress that this proposal in no way reflects the commitment and hard work of the employees at the site.”