A climate of fear is rampant at Poole food manufacturer the Addo Food Group as the bosses try to derecognise Unite as the recognised union for the 600-strong workforce.
Unite is having last-ditch talks with management tomorrow (Friday 29 April) to persuade the Dorset firm to maintain union recognition with all the benefits that flow from good industrial relations, and maintaining high standards of health and safety.
Unite, the country’s largest union, has had a recognition agreement with the Sterte Avenue company, previously known as the Pork Farms Group, for more than five years – but was given notice terminating the agreement three months ago.
A total of 500 workers, many of them from abroad, have signed a petition calling for Unite to remain as the recognised union. One of the company’s major customers is Sainburys.
Unite has several hundred members and said that its ability to recruit more members has been severely restricted by the hard line stance of the company.
Unite regional secretary for the south west Peter Hughes said: “Many workers at the site would like to join Unite, but there is a rampant climate of fear that is preventing those workers from signing-up.
“We are holding last ditch talks tomorrow to persuade the management to rescind its decision, as we know from past experience in other workplaces that union recognition is conducive to good industrial relations between management and workers.
“It is ironical that as we celebrate International Workers’ Memorial Day today and the progress that has been made on important health and safety issues that this company is attempting to throw a template for good industrial relations out the window.”
Labour MEP for the South West Clare Moody has also thrown her political weight behind the Poole workers, saying that she shared Unite’s “genuine concerns over the proposal to derecognise the union for collective bargaining purposes at the site by the new owners.”
She added: “I am deeply aware of the challenges that we face, particularly in the south west, with tackling low pay and that collective bargaining is an essential part of dealing with this problem.
“I will raise Unite’s concerns with both Addo Foods directly and the supermarkets that they supply to, as well as to the trade association in relation to the Ethical Trading Initiative.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.