Kingsmill workers vote in favour of strike action

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Unite has voted infavour of strike action at Kingsmill West Bromwich
Unite has voted infavour of strike action at Kingsmill West Bromwich

Related tags Trade union

Kingsmill’s West Bromwich bakery could face strike action, following a pay dispute with members of the trade union Unite.

Drivers, maintenance staff and security personnel at the factory voted by a margin of 82% in favour of industrial action, after a pay deal offered by Kingsmill was rejected by the union.

The pay deal offered a 2% pay rise plus £150 for the year starting April 2017 and the same for the year starting April 2018, said Unite.

But the consumer prices index calculated the rate of inflation at 3% in October, according to the Office of National Statistics, said the union.

Unite lead officer for the food sector Joe Clarke said: “Following the result, we have had initial discussions with the company about further talks with senior executives to resolve the pay issues.

‘Resolve the pay issues’

“We are waiting to hear back from the company on possible dates for new talks. There are differences between us over market pay rates and the cost of living which need to be resolved.”

Clarke said that Unite wished for constructive talks with Kingsmill, but reserved the right to take strike action if no new offer was forthcoming.

Unite claimed that its members were being paid much less than staff working in similar roles at Sainsbury and logistics firm Culina.

It also claimed that drivers at Kingsmill’s Stockport depot earned £1,500-a-year more than those at West Bromwich.

However, a spokesman from Kingsmill owner Allied Bakeries said the company was disappointed that Unite’s members had voted in favour of taking industrial action.

Commitment to paying a fair wage

Pay settlements over the past 10 years had averaged 2.4%, over the rate of inflation, and were consistent with its long-term commitment to paying a fair wage and ensuring safe and decent working conditions, he said.

The spokesman said: “The current offer we are making to our delivery drivers at West Bromwich is comparable to that which has been accepted by all our other delivery drivers across the UK.

“It’s in line with the local market benchmark and above the amount many commercial vehicle drivers across the country will receive.”

Should a strike take place, Allied Bakeries said it had robust plans in place and did not expect to see any disruption to bread supply for either its customers or shoppers.

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