Dumfriesshire based company to face weeks of industrial action

Unite the union confirmed that around 180 members based at the Dumfriesshire food manufacturer Browns are starting strike action today (28 August) in a dispute over poverty pay.

Unite’s production, distribution and maintenance members based in Kelloholm, Sanquhar, emphatically rejected a pay offer from the company which equals the real Living Wage of £10.90 an hour.

The workers will participate in three days of industrial action over a period of three consecutive weeks. The first round begins today and ends on 31 August. An overtime ban is also in effect until 18 September (see notes to editor).

The Dumfriesshire based firm specialises in the production and manufacturing of quality cooked and sliced meats for a large range of businesses, supermarkets and schools.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s members at Browns have emphatically rejected a poverty pay offer. The Browns Food Group, which owns the Kelloholm factory, is cash rich. It can well afford to give its workers a far bigger slice of the tens of millions it has sitting in the bank. Unite will always support our members fighting back for decent jobs, pay and conditions.” 

Browns Manufacturing Limited, which the company trades under, made a profit after tax of £5.2m in the year ending 31 December 2021. The company is part of the wider Browns Food Group which is owned and controlled by the Godfrey family.

The wider Group recorded a profit of £9.2m with £1.5m being paid out in dividends over the same time period. The Group further recorded a net cash position generated from its operational activities of £22.3m in 2021.

The highest paid director at Browns Food Group received a remuneration package totalling £223,000 in 2021. This is equivalent to 9.9 times the pay of the average employee at Browns Manufacturing Limited.

Paul Bennett, Unite industrial officer, added: “Our members have no option but to take strike action because what’s currently on the table from Browns does nothing to help them make ends meet.”

“The company is in a very healthy financial position due to the hard work of our members, so it’s scandalous that they are treating the workforce with such contempt. Strike action will take place over a number of weeks and Browns should be under no illusion as to the determination of our members to secure a fair pay deal.”


Notes to Editors

Overtime Ban:

Commencing at 6 a.m. on 28 August and ending on 18 September at 5:59 a.m.

Strike Action:

Commencing at 6 a.m. on 28 August and concluding on 31 August at 5:59 a.m.

Commencing at 6 a.m. 4 September and concluding on 7 September 2023 at 5:59 a.m.

Commencing at 6 a.m. on 11 September and concluding on 14 September 2023 at 5:59 a.m.