Weetabix failed to provide suitable financial incentives for employees that had moved shift, or would be expected to move onto a new 24/7 shift pattern, the union claimed.
The manufacturer said it was disappointed by the workers’ decision to strike, after 92% of Usdaw’s workers voted for industrial action.
The strikes, beginning in January, would run for 24 hours, with no more than one strike to take place in a single week, Usdaw said.
‘Overwhelmingly backed strikes’
Usdaw area organiser Ed Leach said: “As a result of the [failed talks], Usdaw conducted a ballot for industrial action, and members have overwhelmingly backed a series of 24-hour strikes.
“It is deeply regrettable that the company has pushed staff to this point, and we hope that they will look again at their offer, continue to negotiate with us and seek a solution that will avoid the industrial action backed by our members.”
Weetabix claimed it introduced new shift patterns after “engaging” with Usdaw. The proposed working hours meant more permanent roles were created within the company, it claimed.
‘Minimise any potential disruption’
A Weetabix spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We are disappointed by the ballot result, but respect the decision and are keen to continue discussions. We have plans in place to minimise any potential disruption to our operations.
“Changing consumer breakfast habits have increased demand for biscuit production, and with the engagement of Usdaw we have introduced new shift patterns and created new permanent roles at Burton Latimer and Corby.”
Meanwhile, strikes are continuing at confectionery manufacturer Tangerine’s York factory over workers’ pay. Tangerine said its pay offer – a 1.25% increase, backdated to April 2016 – would be “taken off the table” if it wasn’t accepted by December 9, the GMB union claimed.
Weetabix planned strikes – at a glance
- Workers in Kettering and Corby to strike in January
- 92% of union members voted for industrial action
- Planned strikes followed failed talks over proposed shift changes