Staff at Valeo York, who also make Poppets and products for stores such as Marks & Spencer, are on strike following attacks on their pay, terms and conditions.
They have now been told by bosses they will be fired and re-hired unless they agree to a new contract which reduces their holiday and pay, according to the union.
Workers lobbied York Council last night in an effort to end the company’s ‘fire and rehire’ threat, with the workers’ pleas delivered by their GMB branch secretary.
‘Respect our rights’
James Cooper, GMB branch secretary in York, said: “We’re asking for support to force this company to respect our members’ rights, not change their terms and conditions.
“Fair pay so they can afford to feed their families. All they want is to be treated with respect – they are treated as second class citizens all because of the colour hairnet they wear.”
Union members downed tools earlier this week in the ongoing dispute over pay.
GMB organiser Katherine Mitchell said its members did not make the decision to take industrial lightly, but inflation and the rising cost of living had left them so worse off that had to choose between buying food or heating their homes.
“Valeo is profitable thanks to the hard work and commitment of our members, and they deserve to have this recognised through decent rates of pay and having the terms and conditions respected,” she added.
‘Below inflation deal’
“Instead, Valeo choose to offer our members a derisory below inflation two-year deal, reduce annual leave and overtime premiums, and attack their right to organise for better pay and conditions through the GMB as their trade union.”
“This is an absolute kick in the teeth for a workforce that bent over backwards to keep the supply chain going right throughout the pandemic.”
The union claimed that attempts to bring Valeo back to the table to re-open negotiations have so far not been taken up by the company.
Responding to the walk out, a Valeo Foods spokesman said: “We have engaged in very constructive conversations with our colleagues as part of a routine annual pay review process however a very limited number of employees have made the decision to take industrial action. The site will continue to operate as normal.”
Meanwhile, proposals to restructure the Pladis factory in Stockport, Manchester could result in the loss of 159 of out of the 470 roles at the site.