Unite the union claimed 2 Sisters-owned The Pizza Factory sent a message to staff, stating Brexit-related pressures and “price-conscious supermarkets” were behind the imminent threat to the jobs, the union claimed.
The union claimed the New Year message from management said: “As [I] am sure you all know, we are in an extremely challenging economic environment following Brexit.
“We are facing very significant commodity and utility inflation on top of the National Living Wage increases. At the same time, retailer competition is intensifying with growth harder to come by and value a key theme.”
But, a 2 Sisters spokesman denied the claim that job losses were linked to Brexit. “Following the announcement last year that our customer is moving to another supplier, we are still consulting with colleagues about this,” a 2 Sisters spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“No decisions have been made and we will continue to work closely with all parties to reach the best possible outcome.”
The job losses were linked to a big contract loss, it was believed.
Unite is meeting management later today (January 18) to discuss redundancy pay, after the manufacturer revealed plans to cut jobs in August. The union wants statutory redundancy pay to double, as was agreed with the business’s former owners, it said.
Workers are preparing for industrial action, short of striking, from Tuesday January 24. The factory’s 489 union members voted for action (72%), while 66% voted to strike.
‘Taking industrial action’
Unite regional officer Andy Shaw said: “The company has blamed Brexit and pressures from price-conscious supermarkets. Our members will be taking industrial action short of a strike from next Tuesday [January 24] which will mean withdrawing overtime and goodwill.
“The management’s consultation process has been dire, given the number of jobs under threat. Unite tabled an alternative plan to redundancy. The shift changes we proposed included short time working, which would have spread the pain across the workforce as a whole.
“This would have protected jobs in the short term until additional sales could be achieved. This was rejected without any real discussion or negotiation.”
Meanwhile, the owner of 2 Sisters – Boparan Holdings – said it was preparing for one of its toughest years. It reported a 1.9% rise in operating profit to £19.8M.
The Pizza Factory planned job losses – at a glance
- 280 jobs under threat
- Jobs would be lost from January 28
- 2 Sisters denied union claims Brexit was behind the redundancies