Brexit has been partly blamed by bosses for the imminent threat to 280 jobs at The Pizza Factory in Nottingham, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 18 January).
The union is due to hold crunch talks with the company, owned by food giant 2 Sisters, later today (Wednesday), as workers gear up for industrial action short of a strike from 00.01 on Tuesday (24 January).
The long-established East Midlands company has a workforce of 781, of which 280 face redundancy from 28 January onwards, which the union branded as ‘a body blow’ to the local economy.
Today’s talks will focus on a doubling of the statutory redundancy pay for those losing their jobs as was agreed with the previous owners, Northern Foods and campaigning against an erosion of terms and conditions for the remaining workforce, due to come into force on 29 January.
In a new year message to employees, the management said: “As (I) am sure you all know we are in an extremely challenging economic environment following Brexit. We are facing very significant commodity and utility inflation on top of the national living wage increases. At the same time retailer competition is intensifying with growth harder to come by and value a key theme.”
Unite members voted by 72 per cent for industrial action short of a strike and 66 per cent for strike action.
Unite regional officer Andy Shaw said: “This is very bad news for the workers and their families, and a body blow for the wider Nottingham economy.
“The company has blamed Brexit and pressures from price-conscious supermarkets. Our members will be taking industrial short of a strike from next Tuesday which will mean withdrawing overtime and goodwill.
“The management’s consultation process has been dire, given the number of jobs under threat.
“Unite tabled an alternative plan to redundancy. The shift changes we proposed included short time working which would have spread the pain across the workforce as a whole.
“This would have protected jobs in the short term until additional sales could be achieved. This was rejected without any real discussion or negotiation.
“What we want is a doubling of the statutory redundancy pay, as was in place when Northern Foods owned the plant, and for the current salami slicing of terms and conditions to be reversed.”
Unite has 489 members at The Pizza Factory.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.