22 January 2015
The eleven 36-hour strikes, over 10 weeks, follow a refusal by the company to fully negotiate the introduction of new pay rates that will see new employees paid approximately £5,000 less than long term employees.
The changes at the juice maker, which produces supermarket own brand products for Waitrose, Asda and Tesco and works with brands such as Innocent, Del Monte and Ocean Spray, also involve cuts to overtime and bank holiday pay, as well as holiday entitlements.
The production operators, engineers and warehouse workers will be striking from 06:45 on 27 January until 19:00 on 28 January followed by a further 10 36-hour stoppages beginning on 2,4,12,18 and 27 February, 2, 12,18, 24 March and 1 April.
Unite regional officer Roy Winter said: “Loyal staff who have worked hard to make Refresco Gerber Europe’s biggest juice manufacturer feel betrayed by plans to railroad through cuts to their pay, terms and conditions.
“They are angry that their modest working conditions are being torn up in a bid to squeeze every last drop of profit out of them. This further attack on their terms and conditions will deepen the daily struggle to make ends meet that a majority of the workforce face.
“The race to the bottom needs to stop. The company needs to drop its refusal to negotiate and enter into meaningful talks to avoid the inevitable disruption that prolonged strike action will have on the supply of well-loved household brands.”