The organisation claims it negotiated the deal for all workers at the processing facilities, securing their continued viability in the wake of negative national press coverage last year.
After extensive negotiations, Unite and 2 Sisters’ management hammered out a 9.3% two-year pay deal, Unite said.
The two-year deal consists of a 4.6% increase backdated to April 2018, with a further 4.7% increase to come into effect in April 2019. The agreement primarily covered 1,500 workers at the 2 Sisters principal poultry sites in West Bromwich (site D) and Wolverhampton (site E), Unite added.
The deal preserved all the existing terms, conditions and working patterns for current morning and afternoon shifts. It would also prompt the recruitment of 250 staff on a covering shift, allowing 2 Sisters to undertake seven-day working.
“This is an excellent deal for our members. It provides a pay increase well above inflation while maintaining terms and conditions,” said Unite food drink and agriculture officer Joe Clarke.
“Since the crisis in 2 Sisters last year we have been in extensive discussions to ensure the viability of the company’s sites in the Midlands. This deal maintains our members’ existing Monday to Friday working arrangements and preserves their work/life balance. The deal also creates new jobs with the introduction of a new shift pattern over four days to give the company a seven-day operation.”
Unite regional officer Andy Hall said: “The negotiations have been long and arduous but they demonstrate that Unite and 2 Sisters can work together. It is paramount that this agreement is developed and there is a better industrial relationship in the future. The deal gives stability to our members and ensures that their work/life balance has not been affected.”
In a statement responding to Unite's announcement, 2 Sisters Food Group said: "We made a commitment to work with Unite with regard to flexibility around production, and recognising and rewarding our colleagues. We believe our agreement reflects that commitment at our West Midlands sites."
The joint Guardian and ITV expose of 2 Sisters Food Group’s hygiene and labelling practices by undercover reporting, particularly at West Bromwich site D, broke at the end of September 2017.
Allegations included that raw chicken had been dropped on the floor and returned for processing and that use-by date labels had been altered, effectively extending product shelf-life.
The issue prompted a hearing, and subsequent report, by the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee and an investigation by the Food Standards Agency, results of which were announced in March this year.