The BFAWU is to hold an emergency branch meeting this Sunday (September 24) to ballot its members on whether or not to take industrial action.
The move came after pay talks organised by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service between union representatives and Tulip broke down in a meeting on Friday September 8.
BFAWU regional officer George Atwell told FoodManufacture.co.uk that union members – which total up to 130 staff at the Coalville factory – had not received a pay rise in three years.
‘Taken premium rates off members’
“In those years, the company has taken premium rates off members [including tea breaks] and consolidated them into the hourly rate,” said Atwell.
“Even if they can give us inflation of 2.9%, we’d be happy with that – but they’re not even giving us that.”
He also criticised Tulip for its purchase of pig producer Easey Holdings last week, which revealed the company had sufficient funds to lift wages, claimed Atwell.
“They’ve bought a pig producer and the company said they have no money. They’re making investments, but not in our membership. It’s like a smack in the teeth.”
‘Smack in the teeth’
Tulip agreed a deal to buy Easey Holdings, after this website exclusively revealed the firm’s plans to invest up to £70M in acquisitions, equipment and product innovation.
However, a Tulip spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk the claims that the company had refused to raise employees’ pay were untrue.
“A pay rise had been offered which has been rejected,” said the spokesman. “Discussions [with union representatives] are currently at an end.”
Meanwhile, Cadbury UK’s new pay deal, designed to counter the rising cost of inflation, has been welcomed by Unite, the union.
The deal will see workers receive a 3.2% pay rise for the 2017/18 period, based on February’s retail price index (RPI) figure. Pay increases in the 2018/19 period will be based on the RPI in February next year.