8 December 2012
Unite the Union balloted their members over the following issues:
- A derisory pay offer of 20p an hour, when the majority of the workers are earning just £6.22 an hour, a fraction above the national minimum wage of £6.19.
- Unacceptable shift patterns for the proposed seven day-a-week working, which would adversely hit the work-life balance of the workforce.
- Management reneging on its promise that any pay deal would be backdated to 1 August – the start of pay year.
- A culture of alleged beatings and bullying.
A further grievance for the workers at the two sites in Bevan Way, Smethwick is a plan to charge workers £8-a-week to park, which would eat up the current proposed weekly pay rise of £7.50. Parking is free at present.
2 Sisters have since backed down over back pay and the proposed parking charge.
The workers voted by 98.5 per cent for strike action and 97.2 per cent for industrial action short of a strike. The turnout was 57 per cent. Trade union votes like this make a mockery of the Tories attempts to attack union democracy and participation.
On Friday 7th December 400 workers rallied outside the Smethwick plant.
The workers will be on strike on the following days:
6.00am on Friday 14 December for 24 hours
6.00am on Tuesday 18 December for 24 hours
6.00am on Friday 21 December for 24 hours.
Send messages of support to Gill.firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Sisters is a growing power in the food industry. It recently took over Northern Foods and has also taken over the chilled foods and bakery subsidiary of Premier Foods.
2 Sisters owners Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan are the 24th richest people in the Birmingham Post Rich List, worth £285 million.