Weetabix strikes to begin this week at Northamptonshire factories over fire and rehire plans
- Monday 20 September 2021
Engineers employed by Weetabix, the UK’s favourite breakfast cereal, will begin strike action tomorrow (Tuesday September 21) as a result of the company’s plans to carry out an extensive “Fire and Rehire’ programme with the workforce. If workers accept the new terms many will lose up to £5,000 a year in wages.
The workers, members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, are based at the company’s factories at Burton Latimer and Corby in Northamptonshire. Both sites will have picket lines in place.
Fire and rehire is abhorrent
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:“Unite’s members at Weetabix will not accept being fired and rehired. Unite will fight to defend our members affected by this disgraceful practice. It is abhorrent that it is legal for companies, like Weetabix, to issue ‘Fire and Rehire’ ultimatums to their staff.
“This is a totally unjustifiable assault on workers’ wages and conditions. Last year Weetabix’s profits went up by almost 20% to more than £81 million”.
48 hour strikes
The strike on Tuesday will last for 48 hours and there will a further 48 hour strike beginning Tuesday throughout the autumn, with the final strike scheduled to begin on Tuesday 30 November.
Where: Weetabix Mills, Burton Latimer, Kettering Northamptonshire, NN15 5JR
When: Tuesday 21 September from 06:45
The picket lines at Corby factory (Earlstrees Industrial estate, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northamptonshire NN17 4AZ) will be in place from 06:00.
Cuts in shifts
The engineers are facing changes to their shifts and working patterns, which would result in the worst affected engineers being £5,000 a year worse off.
The strikes will cause widespread delays to production and led to shortages of Weetabix and other popular products made by the factories including Alpen, Weetos and Oatibix.
Weetabix has performed very strongly since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. It returned a net turnover of $440 million, a 5.3 per cent increase, with profits of $112.3 million, an 18.5 per cent increase. Owners US cereal giant Post Holdings Inc most recent accounts show it had a turnover of $5.7 billion, an operating profit of $700.8 million and $1.2 billion in cash.
Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel said: “Weetabix could end this dispute by simply withdrawing the attacks on workers’ pay.”
“Strike action will inevitably lead to severe disruption of Weetabix’s products but this is entirely of the company’s own makings."
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.
Email: [email protected]
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.