Union ‘rock solid’ as it doubles Weetabix strike days

FinanceFMCG

A strike at two Weetabix factories has intensified as workers protest “fire and rehire” tactics that will reportedly cost them £5000 a year.

From November 8, industrial action will double to four days a week from Monday to Thursday.

Trade union Unite threatened that strikes at the Kettering and Corby plants would keep “escalating” until the cereal giant backed down.

However, Weetabix disputes the “fire and rehire” claim, which it labelled “unfair and inaccurate”.

READ MORE: ‘Tainted’ Weetabix sparks nationwide fire and rehire protests

The unrest has already closed production lines and put orders several days behind schedule, the union claimed.

“Weetabix is making bumper profits so there is no justification for these ‘fire and rehire’ attacks on our members’ wages and conditions,” Unite boss Sharon Graham said.

“They are just not swallowing what in reality is a serving of corporate greed.

“Weetabix should expect this dispute to continue escalating until fire and rehire is dropped.”

Companies House statements show profit increased 34 per cent to £75 million in the year to September 2020.

Protests are also taking place at supermarkets to show how the company has “tainted its good name”.

Photos from a Sainsbury’s in Loughborough show men in hi-vis jackets calling for a Weetabix “boycott”.

Unite regional officer Sean Kettle said: “Our members’ determination to fend off these unjustified pay grabs is rock solid. 

“Weetabix’s reputation will continue to be damaged until it withdraws them.”

The manufacturer denied that it was making employees “sign new contracts or face dismissal”.

It said in a statement: “This situation concerns the standardisation of existing shift patterns with our engineers and other manufacturing teams, which is permitted under their existing terms.

“While the voluntary choice of moving to a working pattern during the day does not come with the same level of shift premium… the proposal is very much in line with other similar businesses.”

Weetabix continued: “To stay competitive for the next 90 years, we need to bring in necessary new ways of working.

“We remain in close consultation with our engineers and their representatives and are confident that the opportunity still exists to find a resolution that creates future shared success.”

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