JDE Banbury dispute: Union votes in favour of new deal

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Unite members have a deal with JDE to end its 'fire and rehire' dispute with the coffee maker
Unite members have a deal with JDE to end its 'fire and rehire' dispute with the coffee maker

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Unite members at Jacobs Douwe Egberts’ Banbury, Oxfordshire plant have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new a pay and employment conditions package that removes the management’s proposal to ‘fire and rehire’ staff.

The union’s dispute with the coffee producer began in March this year, after plans were announced the re-engage staff on the site and modernise manufacturing operations to remain competitive. Unite’s members went on to hold series of strikes at the plant, which were called off at the end of June​ to facilitate talks with JDE.

Unite said its members had voted 81% for the deal on a 93% turnout, a deal forged after three weeks of intensive talks with management over the long-running dispute.

Democratic ballot

Joe Clarke, Unite national officer for the food industry, said: “We are delighted that our members have overwhelmingly accepted this deal in a democratic ballot – the scale of the endorsement shows that Unite’s stance during the dispute and in the tough negotiations reflected the wishes of the vast majority of the employees.

“The fact that ‘fire and rehire’ has been removed from the table is a major achievement for Unite and the Unite internal plant committee, and a tribute to the solidarity that our members have demonstrated throughout. Our members remain in the top 25% of earners for this industry which is a key feature of the package now agreed.”

Rebuild relationships

The union hoped to rebuild relationships with the management over the months and years ahead and were keen to enter into constructive discussions with JDE over future investment opportunities at the Banbury site.

Commenting on the new proposals, a JDE UK spokesperson said: We are pleased that our associates have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the latest negotiated deal regarding changes to working practices at Banbury manufacturing.  

We thank them for their patience throughout the process and look forward to working together to create a better future for our factory in Banbury.”

Meanwhile, Unite has threatened a ‘beer drought’ across the UK​, after announcing plans to ballot its members employed by XPO Logistics Drinks for industrial action over a ‘paltry’ pay offer.

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