The biscuit maker is to launch a consultation with employees at the site over the proposed change to operating times, which would see workers move to 12-hour shifts on a four days on, four days off rota.
Geoff Atkinson, regional secretary at the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, told Food Manufacture that meetings between the employees and management would begin this Friday.
“I do understand there will be some upset from some members and employees who work there, but as a trade union representative anything that protects employment and creates employment has got to be a good thing,” said Atkinson.
“We will be doing our utmost in consultation to make sure most, if not all, the people are catered for. There are going to be situations where people will be unable to work 12-hour shifts, but that will be addressed in the consultation process.”
While the consultation will take into consideration those workers who are unable to adapt to the new shift patterns, Atkinson said the union would generally support any proposals that will create and secure jobs.
“[Fox’s is] putting it down as a business need that it requires 24/7 production, and we were told it protects employment,” he added. “There will be people who will struggle to do continental shifts and weekend work. We do know that. But it’s creating and protecting employment, so that’s got to be a good thing.”
It is understood that more than 300 people work at the site.
A Fox’s Biscuits spokesman said: “In order to maximise the growth plans of our site in Kirkham, we are currently consulting with colleagues and their representatives about proposals to extend production hours.
“This would significantly help the site deliver more for our customers and in turn boosts our commercial opportunities. No decisions will be made until we have completed meaningful discussions about our plans with all colleagues.”