About 200 staff held an unofficial protest outside the factory on Staithes Road, Preston from 6am, and refused to move until a resolution had been reached.
One Cranswick worker told the local publication Hull Live that the staff wanted to be treated as they should be as employees.
“We do our jobs the best we possibly can, but sometimes it feels like we are not being respected for that,” said the employee. “This situation has come about from desperate people. We are going to protest outside the factory until we get an answer.”
List of seven demands
The protestors produced a list of seven demands for Cranswick, which included increasing the number of staff on each production line, overtime payments raised by 50% of a worker’s hourly rate and a pay increase in line with the National Minimum Wage rise. See the full list in the box below.
If Cranswick doesn’t meet the demands by 14 December, the protestors have threatened to go on formal strike.
Commenting on the protest, a Cranswick spokesman told Food Manufacture: “We are disappointed to acknowledge there was an unofficial strike at our Preston site on Monday morning, but can confirm everyone has returned to work.
Working on a resolution
"We have been working with the GMB [Union] for a number of months and are continuing to work on a resolution for the team on site.”
Cranswick also confirmed that production was not negatively affected by the walk out and that no one had lost their jobs.
The workers’ demands follow a year of major of investments by Cranswick, including a new £27m continental products facility in Bury, Lancashire and the construction of a £60m poultry processing plant in Eye, Suffolk.
It also reported revenue of £719.2m, 0.6% up year-on-year for the six months to 30 September 2018, while adjusted profit before tax for the period was 0.9% higher at £44.8m compared to £44.4m in the same period last year.
List of demands from Cranswick workers
- Increase the number of staff working on each production line
- Raise overtime payments by 50% of the worker’s hourly rate
- Increase pay in line with the National Minimum Wage rise
- Increase pay by £1 an hour for all butchers and slaughter specialists at Cranswick
- Stop increasing the speed of production constantly
- Improve working conditions
- Demands to be met before 14 December, or else there will be a more industrial action