Yesterday (8 October), Food Manufacture reported further details of the possible sale of the business following national reports that PAI Partners had been in talks over an acquisition.
Experts predicted that the struggling UK arm of the business, which owns jam brand Hartley’s, had become a problem the wider firm could do without, further adding to possible sale discussion. Hain Daniels have yet to comment on the situation.
Unite has now organised crunch talks with the management in Histon, Cambridgeshire, demanding that the company divulge its plans to staff. The union has indicated it is seeking guarantees that terms and conditions will be met should a sale go ahead.
“There is a good deal of media speculation that the Hain Daniels Group could be sold to PAI Partners,” said regional officer Roger Dillion.
Great deal of concern
“There is a great deal of concern from our members that their terms and conditions could be seriously eroded by such a take-over.
“The Histon management has already flagged up that it wants to get rid of redundancy payments beyond the statutory minimum, company sick pay, extra days of holiday, and payments for changes in shift patterns.
“It is clear that the bosses are intent on slimming down costs at the expense of our members in order to make it more financially attractive to a potential buyer.
“At our meeting on Thursday, we will be demanding that the company comes clean about its sale intentions and we will be seeking cast-iron assurances that our members’ terms and conditions, in some cases stretching back 25 to 30 years, will be maintained if there is a new owner.”
Histon is currently the business’ largest manufacturing site, where, in addition to Hartley’s, it produces a number of the UK’s most well-known jams, marmalades, jellies, honey, mincemeat, fruit fillings and fruit ingredients.