Strike ballot at 2 Sisters site

Employees at a 2 Sisters Food Group’s site in Corby have balloted for industrial action, which could lead to a strike or an overtime ban.

According to a worker at Solway Foods, which processes meat and salad, union members want to take action in protest at a £40 a week pay cut last year, as well as various amendments to contracts and a ban on pay rises. The worker also said management at the site were to receive a pay rise, despite a ban on the rise in pay for employees.

Workers at the plant have also taken issue with the announcement that the company is to take on 500 new workers this year in response to new business contracts, including a new multi-million-pound poultry contract with the supermarket Sainsbury’s. Workers said this, along with the other issues last year, had led employees at the site to take action.

John Higgins, organising regional secretary for the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union, which is representing the workers, said: "The managers got a 2% pay rise and the workers were told last year there would be no rise given to anyone, but the management are receiving one.

"The plan of action is to ballot the members and we have been informed that the company would like to involve ACAS. I have been given a list of a number of problems at that site."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Solway Foods, Corby said: "We are aware that a ballot has been called with regards to the site collective agreement, which may result in an overtime ban. While we are disappointed that the ballot has been called, our discussions with union and employee representatives will continue. Supply to our customers will not be affected as a result of any ban.

"2 Sisters Food Group operates in a highly competitive environment and, as a major supplier to all of the UK’s leading retailers, we continually need to ensure we deliver the highest quality at the lowest cost, particularly with trading conditions remaining challenging at this time and with high food inflation, due to higher commodity costs for the ingredients we buy to make our products.

"It is absolutely essential that for the group to prosper and grow over the coming years, we ensure our costs are sustainable into the future"