Unrest at United Biscuits may be wider issue

Last updated on 05-Mar-2014 at 15:36 GMT2014-03-05T15:36:09Z - By Rod Addy+
There is unrest at United Biscuits' Halifax site in protest over proposed changes to shift patterns
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Union unrest at United Biscuits’ (UB’s) McVitie’s Cake Company factory at Halifax is a reaction to issues that have also been raised at other plants, according to sources.

Trades union Unite has not ruled out strikes at the Halifax site in protest over proposed changes to shift patterns that could hit wages.

Responding to a Unite statement last week, UB denied the changes were part of a national strategy that would affect other plants.

However, a UB employee told “Employees at McVitie’s Harlesden are currently going through the same ‘survival project’, resulting in job cuts, shift changes and potential wage cuts …”

Wage cut

The source said the engineering department at the factory was “suffering the most, resulting in the threat of up to a £15,000 wage cut”.

A UB spokesman said: “As is the case for most manufacturing businesses, UB is constantly working with employees and trade union representatives on a range of issues, changes and opportunities to ensure we remain competitive and continue to meet the needs of our customers.

“This is normal business practice. The changes currently being proposed in Halifax are unique to that site and do not affect any other UB operations.”

Unite regional officer Sarah Mitchell said she was unaware of workers’ grievances at plants other than Halifax.

However, she said UB had moved towards individual factories having a large degree of autonomy, so the situation at one plant could be reflected elsewhere without that being part of a joined-up strategy.

Last week Unite claimed workers at the UB McVitie’s cake Company factory at Halifax could lose up to £4,400 out of their annual pay packets as proposed shift changes took effect on May 1.

Lose their jobs

The union also claimed 10 people stood to lose their jobs at the site.

However, UB said up to eight people could be made redundant and a total of 30 could be affected by the changes.

It stressed it had found 10 vacant roles in other parts of the business that affected staff could be moved into.

Negotiations continue.

Related topics: Manufacturers, United Biscuits, Biscuits

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