Workers at the McVities Cake Company in Halifax are being consulted on the next steps in a dispute which could see them losing up to £3,000 a year in wages.
The 40 staff are angry at management plans to radically change their shift patterns and also the threat of 10 job losses at the West Yorkshire plant which makes cakes, cake bars and the like.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said that the company wants to introduce the shift changes on 1 May and that this has been prompted by contractual changes with major customer, Mars which come into force on 1 April.
The workers, presently earning about £24,500, have been told their current 24/7 shift patterns will be changed to a 24 hour shift system, Monday to Friday, with the workers being available for work on 17 Saturdays a year, but only being required for 11. This could see their pay packets slump by between £3,100 and £4,400, depending on overtime worked.
Unite regional officer Sarah Mitchell said: “This is a complex dispute with the management’s stated aim being to secure future production volumes and cut costs which has been necessitated by the changes to the Mars contract.
“We have had lengthy talks with the company over the proposed changes which have now ended. However, our members can’t afford to take a £3,000 ‘hit’ to their pay packets when household bills are going through the roof.
“The company is pressing ahead with the voluntary redundancy programme and the changes in the shift patterns regardless, and Unite will be consulting its members in the coming week about the next steps in this dispute.
“The possibility of industrial action can’t be ruled out at this stage – and we would urge the management to continue to talk to Unite about the situation that it finds itself in.”
For further information contact Alex Flynn in the Unite Press Office on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
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.