Kingsmill bakery drivers cancel strike plan after new pay deal

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Kingsmill bakery drivers in West Bromwich have called off their strike plans
Kingsmill bakery drivers in West Bromwich have called off their strike plans

Related tags West bromwich Trade union

Kingsmill bakery drivers in West Bromwich have called off their threatened strike action, after overwhelmingly accepting a revised pay offer, according to Unite the union.

The drivers – who deliver 1.5M loaves each week – together with maintenance staff and security personnel at the Birmingham Road site agreed the new pay package.

Unite lead officer for the food sector Joe Clarke said under the terms of the deal agreed with ABF Grain Products, the exact terms would remain confidential.

‘Slightly over 2.5%’

“The pay rise, backdated to April 2017, is slightly over 2.5% and with a 2% increase for year two, starting in April 2018,”​ said Clarke. “This is coupled with a further markets rate payment adjustment being added to this figure of 0.5% and a further 0.6% payment for a 12 month voluntary arrangement for the working time derogation.”

The deal reflected a good outcome – with an overall package that delivered the improved pay rates the union had been pushing for at Allied Bakeries Kingsmill West Bromwich, said Clarke.

“The industrial action has now been called off after the workforce voted overwhelmingly to accept the revised offer and our members are working normally,”​ he added. “I would like to thank our members for the solidarity that they have shown which has brought about this positive outcome and we look forward to a constructive relationship with the management going forward.”

A spokeswoman for the company said: ‘‘We’re pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement on pay and conditions with the delivery drivers at our West Bromwich bakery. The deal is in line with that agreed across our other UK sites and is competitive in the local area.

‘Getting back to business as usual’

“As part of this two-year agreement we have achieved an improvement in shift pattern flexibility which we believe works well for our employees and the company. Everyone at the West Bromwich bakery is now looking forward to getting back to business as usual.’’

Meanwhile, in November, Unite members voted by a margin of 82% in favour of industrial action​, after a pay deal offered by Kingsmill was rejected by the union.

Unite had claimed its members were paid much less than staff working at similar roles at Sainsbury and logistics firm Culina. It also claimed that drivers at the Kingsmill Stockport depot earned £1,500-a-year more than those at West Bromwich.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s biggest trade union with more than 1.4M working across all sectors of the economy. 

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