Unite the UK’s leading union, has secured an agreement to gain formal recognition and end the two-tier workforce on the Heinz distribution contract in Wigan, resulting in many drivers seeing their earnings increase by over 25 per cent.


The agreement covers 26 drivers employed by distribution company Wincanton on the outsourced Heinz contract.


Workers unity


Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "Unite's members on the Heinz contract stuck together and won these much deserved changes. This should send a message to employers across the distribution sector that when you fail to pay our members the rate for the job, we will challenge you and we will win."


By ending the two-tier workforce, the drivers on the contract who are currently on so-called ‘second generation contracts’ will see their pay increase by between 25 – 36 per cent.


Extra holiday


In addition the workers will receive an additional five days holiday a year and the entire workforce will be entitled to sick pay equivalent to six months full pay and then six months half pay.


Blight on industry 


Unite regional officer Kenny Rowe said: “So-called second generation contracts and two-tier workforces are a blight on the haulage and distribution industry. It is entirely immoral that workers are paid different rates for the same work.


“Unite is dedicated to repeating its success on the Heinz contract across the UK to ensure that workers are paid a fair rate for the job.


“Not only have we ended the two–tier workforce on this contract but we have ensured that all the drivers will benefit equally in future negotiations over pay and conditions.”


Race to the bottom


Employers across the distribution and road haulage industry have increasingly used second and even third generation contracts, where new recruits are on lower pay and poorer conditions than existing drivers, to force down costs and so creating a race to the bottom.


Unite believes the widespread use of so-called ‘second generation contracts’ is a significant factor in the current shortage of HGV drivers.




Notes to editors:


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.


For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.


Email: [email protected]


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Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.