Samworth Brothers in National Living Wage row

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Samworth Brothers has found itself embroiled in a row about the National Living Wage
Samworth Brothers has found itself embroiled in a row about the National Living Wage

Related tags National living wage Minimum wage George osborne

Samworth Brothers remains at the centre of a row about alleged cuts to pay and conditions, made in a bid to offset the impact of the National Living Wage, after Channel Four News claimed it had seen company documents confirming the cuts.

The Ginsters manufacturer has previously denied claims from the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) that it planned to make the cuts in order to lessen the impact of the National Living Wage, introduced on April 1.

But Channel Four News claimed on Wednesday (April 13) it had seen documents confirming that Samworth Brothers had written to staff at its Bradgate Bakery in Leicester detailing a series of changes to pay and conditions.

Cuts to bonuses

Those were said to involve cuts to bonuses including overtime and bank holiday pay.

The business planned to cut Sunday overtime rates from £13.78 an hour to £13.10 an hour from this June, claimed the news report. Further cuts in the rate were planned, with £11.79 scheduled for 2017 and £10.62 for 2018, it was claimed.

The number of work breaks will also be reduced.

One unnamed worker told the TV programme: “Yes, our money has gone up. But they have taken our overtime down. And they are going to cut our breaks to one break a day.”

A Samworth Brothers spokeswoman told “As of Monday this week 97% of issued contracts have been signed and returned. Around 85% of our staff at Samworth Brothers will see their overall pay rise as a result of the changes so, unsurprisingly, there has been a positive response from the majority of our staff.”

BFAWU national president Ian Hodson told today: “In general, we are concerned the government living wage and how it has been introduced has allowed employers the opportunity to force through changes to contractual entitlements.

“Those included shift pay, overtime payments as well as paid breaks also due to the age related part we are learning of employers terminating contracts of those above 25.”

‘Detrimental for hard­working families’

The union previously claimed plans to cut premium and overtime payments would be “detrimental for hard­working families”​.

Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhan McDonagh has tabled a back bench motion, which will see MPs debate the impact of the National Living Wage in the House of Commons on Monday (April 18).

Watch the Channel Four News report here​.

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne said in his budget speech last month: “Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise. I am introducing today a new National Living Wage.”

From April 1 workers over the age of 25 have been entitled to receive at least £7.20 an hour. 

Last month chilled fish supplier Icelandic Seachill rejected accusations, made by Unite the union, it was guilty of “sleight of hand” ​over its handling of the National Living Wage.

The firm was accused of paying for the new National Living Wage by slashing overtime rates, ahead of its implementation.

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