Union calls off Weetabix strike

Workers at Weetabix's Corby and Kettering factories have postponed strike action

Workers have postponed industrial action at Weetabix’s Corby and Kettering factories, after the manufacturer announced it would hold more talks with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw).

These fresh talks came after 91.7% of Usdaw members voted for industrial action at the plants last month over the company’s proposal to vary shift patterns.

Members will be balloted in the next few weeks on whether or not to end the dispute.

Ed Leach, Usdaw area organiser, said: Following the overwhelming vote in favour of industrial action, the company immediately contacted me to seek further talks on suitable financial incentives for employees who have moved shift or will be expected to move onto the new 24/7 shift pattern.

‘Avoid the industrial action’

“We welcome the company’s positive engagement with us to seek a solution that will avoid the industrial action backed by our members. They have listened to staff and brought forward an improved offer, which we are balloting members on.”

A union spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk it was not releasing details of the improved offer at this time. The ballot runs from February 1–10.

Weetabix had failed to provide suitable financial incentives for employees that had moved shift, or would be expected to move onto a new 24/7 shift pattern, the union claimed in December.

Initially planned for January

The strikes were initially planned for the beginning of January and would run for 24 hours. No more than one strike was to take place in a single week, Usdaw said.

Weetabix said, last month, it was disappointed by the workers’ decision to strike, but respected their decision and were keen to continue discussions.

Meanwhile, details emerged last month that Weetabix could be sold for about £1bn, after its majority owner – China’s Bright Food Group – reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to sell the breakfast cereal manufacturer.

Bright Food Group acquired a 60% stake in Weetabix in 2012, but is now preparing to sell the food manufacturer, Reuters reported.

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