Staff at one of Bakkavor’s facilities in Spalding, which focuses on making soups, sauces, dips and salads, are preparing to walk out in protest over a 1.5% pay rise offer.
Around 30% of the total staff voted in favour of the strike action and, as a result, the offer from the firm was rejected and a ballot for strike action has been passed, with 83% of voters who took part backing the plans.
The strike could leave major retailers Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and the Co-op low on popular items in the run-up to the festive season.
Over 1000 workers
The site in Spalding employs well over 1,000 workers across four divisions: soups and sauces, dips, salads and distribution.
Unite the Union claimed that workers at the site, who typically earn around £9.36 an hour, were calling for a substantial increase that recognised the contribution they had made to the company’s year-on-year increase in profits.
Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “The UK’s leading supermarkets face the prospect of considerable disruption to the supply of popular products like taramasalata over the festive season.
“Bosses at Bakkavor have absolutely no justification for suppressing workers’ pay year on year when the company has increased its profits year on year.
“Between 2014 and 2018, Bakkavor’s profits have increased by a massive £40 million, but management have left hard-up workers with no choice except to take strike action to fight for their fair share.
“There is still time left to resolve this dispute and we hope management will get around the negotiating table with a view to reaching an agreement which recognises the workers’ contribution to the success of the business.”
A spokeswoman for Bakkavor told Food Manufacture: “We have been in ongoing, extensive dialogue with employees and the Unite Union regarding the 2019 pay proposal at Spalding.
“We believe the pay proposal we have put forward – a 3% in year total package increase, representing a 1.5% pay increase and 1.5% lump sum – delivers a competitive, above-inflation pay increase for all colleagues.
“As a business, we have detailed contingency plans in place to ensure that we continue to serve our customers and that any disruption is kept to a minimum. We would encourage the Union to engage with us to ensure this issue is resolved swiftly in the interests of all employees.”
Bakkavor Foods recently reported £105m in pre-tax profits on a turn