Oscar Mayer disputes ‘inaccurate reflection’ of Wrexham consultation

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Unite has accused Oscar Mayer of engaging in 'fire and rehire' practices at its Wrexham site. Image: Getty
Unite has accused Oscar Mayer of engaging in 'fire and rehire' practices at its Wrexham site. Image: Getty
Oscar Mayer has hit back at claims it had failed to consult with staff over planned redundancies at its Wrexham factory.

Unite the Union condemned that manufacturer last week over plans it claimed would slash workers’ wages by £3,237 a year. Current contracts would be terminated and workers would be forced to sign new ‘inferior’ ones or refuse and lose any option of redundancy payments.

The union also claimed that it has not been allowed to represent the workers during the consultation process, with individual workers – some of whom speak English as a second language – acting as workplace reps without any guidance.

‘Entirely inaccurate’

However, Oscar Mayer chief executive Ian Toal said the union’s claims were an entirely inaccurate reflection of the consultation process underway at the Wrexham site.

“We have held numerous meetings with colleague representatives and, through what continues to be a constructive consultation process, have already updated our proposal following feedback from those representatives,”​ said Toal.

“These proposals are not made lightly, but we believe are necessary to ensure a long-term sustainable future for our business. We remain in consultation with all those who could be impacted and are hopeful of reaching an agreement.”

Unite has accused Oscar Mayer of taking advantage of workers at the plant to mask the full extent of the impact of the contract changes.

‘Must be banned’

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The way Oscar Mayer is treating its workers is an utter disgrace. Fire and rehire is consistently used by the worst of the worst employers and must be banned.

“Unite will not stand for Oscar Mayer’s thuggish behaviour and our members will receive their union’s maximum support.”

Oscar Mayer revealed it had started consultations with staff last month, with up to 135 jobs at the risk of redundancy.​The manufacturer said it would offset some of the redundancies by opening up 101 new vacancies at the Wrexham plant.

Meanwhile, GMB Scotland has promised a ‘summer of strikes’ for whisky producer Whyte & Mackay,​ after pay negotiations stalled with the union.

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