‘Work extra hours or lose your job’ threat sparks strike action at Bristol packaging firm

1 December 2014

From Unite: Over 100 workers at the Bristol food packaging firm Sharpak are set to take part in two 24-hour strikes this week over a ‘sign or be sacked’ ultimatum forcing them to work extra hours.

The first of the 24-hour stoppages by members of Britain’s largest union, Unite starts tomorrow (Tuesday 2 December) morning at 6am, with the second running from 6am on Thursday 4 December to 6am on Friday 5 December.

Members are angry at the company’s threat to sack people who don’t sign up to new contracts which extend the working week by three hours to 40.

The current 37 hour week at the chicken, fish and mushroom packaging factory in Yate was agreed a number of years ago as part of a pay cut to support the business.

Donna Williams, Unite regional officer, said: “The company has ridden roughshod over the workforce’s concerns and is pressing ahead with extortionate changes.

“Threatening and intimidating people into accepting these changes and expecting people with caring responsibilities and other non-work commitments to just drop them at the drop of a hat is totally unacceptable.

“Such behaviour only breeds resentment among a loyal workforce who have worked hard to make the company a success.

“It’s time that the management got back around the negotiating table and started to talk constructively about  how the needs of the business can be met without an arbitrary increase in hours.”

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