Unite calls off strike action at JDE to facilitate talks

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Unite is to hold two weeks of talks with JDE over 'fire and rehire' dispute
Unite is to hold two weeks of talks with JDE over 'fire and rehire' dispute

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Trade union Unite has called off industrial action at Jacob Douwe Egberts’ (JDE’s) Banbury plant in order to facilitate talks with the manufacture over ‘fire and rehire’ plans for workers.

The organisation is to hold two weeks of ‘intensive talks’ with JDE in a bid to resolve the dispute of re-engagement for 291 employees at the factory.

Unite has suspended the industrial action that has been running since the beginning of May for the next fortnight, while JDE has agreed to push back the implementation of ‘fire and rehire’ plans until 13 September.

‘Corridor of opportunity’

Joe Clarke, Unite national officer for the food industry, said the jointly agreed de-escalation process presented a “corridor of opportunity” ​for meaningful talks to overcome the impasse in discussions with JDE on the future terms and conditions for its members.

“This dispute has caused serious strains between the workforce and management, souring the previous good employment relations that we enjoyed with the company for many decades,” ​he added. “It has also adversely affected the broader Banbury community.

“Hopefully, we can now make serious progress leading to a satisfactory conclusion to this dispute. Unite won’t be commenting again until these talks have concluded.”

Plans to proceed with re-engagement

New talks between the union and JDE followed the announcement that the manufacturer was to proceed with its proposals to dismiss and re-engage staff at its Banbury production plant, after talks between the coffee maker and the union broke down.

A JDE UK spokesperson said: “We are pleased to confirm that we will be holding negotiations with Unite over the next fortnight and that the union will suspend industrial action during this time.

“We look forward to beginning these discussions on Monday (28 June) and are hopeful that we can reach an agreement that secures the future of the factory.”

Meanwhile, planned strike action across Weetabix’s Northamptonshire sites has been suspended​ following ‘constructive talks’ between workers union Unite and the manufacturer.

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