Strike days double at Weetabix Northamptonshire factories as fire and rehire taints company’s reputation
- Monday 1 November 2021
Strikes over fire and rehire attacks at Weetabix’s Kettering and Corby factories will double from two days a week to four, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Monday 1 November).
Around 80 Weetabix engineers have been on strike every Tuesday and Wednesday since September over cuts to their pay, terms and conditions that will cost some workers more than £5,000 a year.
From 8 November, strikes will take place every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Increasing the strike action, which has already closed production lines and put orders several days behind schedule, will cause further disruption to Weetabix’s operations.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Weetabix is making bumper profits so there is no justification for these ‘fire and rehire’ attacks on our members’ wages and conditions. They are just not swallowing what in reality is a serving of corporate greed.
“Unite will not accept attacks on our members jobs, pay and conditions and Weetabix should expect this dispute to continue escalating until fire and rehire is dropped.”
As well as industrial action, protests at supermarkets across the UK are also being held to raise awareness of Weetabix’s actions.
Unite said the protests are necessary because shoppers will want to know that “Weetabix has tainted its good name by attacking our members’ living standards while raking in massive profits”.
Weetabix has performed very strongly since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2020, its turnover grew by 5 per cent to £325 million and profits leapt by almost 20 per cent to £82 million.
The latest accounts of Weetabix’s parent company, Post Holdings Inc, the US cereal giant, show that in 2020 it had a turnover of $5.7 billion (£4.2 billion) and an operating profit of $701 million (£518 millon). Its cash reserves are $1.2 billion (£890 million).
Unite regional officer Sean Kettle said: “Our members' determination to fend off these unjustified pay grabs is rock solid, and Weetabix’s reputation will continue to be damaged until it withdraws them.
“Polling shows seventy per cent of people disagree with fire and rehire, a practice which leaves an especially bad taste in the mouth when its conducted by a company that bills itself as the ‘nation’s favourite’.”
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.