The 1,200 workers, who are members of the union Unite, will walk out of the company’s sites at Bevan Way and Dial Lane in Smethwick, West Bromwich and the Lincoln Street plant in Wolverhampton. Further strikes are planned for Tuesday 18 December and Friday 21 December, with a continuous overtime ban, non-cooperation and work-to-rule also planned from tomorrrow.
Unite regional officer, Des Quinn said that the union had been forced to go ahead with the strikes after talks with company management over a possible settlement “broke down”.
“Discussions have made good progress on some of the issues, but we remain deadlocked on pay and a seven-day working week. Further discussions are welcomed by Unite, however since a settlement is not within view, the dispute will carry on,” he said.
Quinn warned that supplies of chicken to supermarkets could be hit as a result of the strike action. “The plants at Smethwick and Wolverhampton supply cut chicken to many of the country’s major supermarkets and we expect supplies to customers will be hit in the run-up to Christmas,” he said.
However, 2 Sisters head of communications, Andrew Hanson, told Meatinfo.co.uk earlier this week that there would be “no impact on supply” if the strikes went ahead.
“Unite says the overwhelming majority of workers voted for strike action, but only half of the staff at those sites voted and the rest were not balloted. From a supply perspective there will be no impact. We have contingency plans in place and can manage from other sites,” he said.
Unite said workers at the plants voted by 98.5% for strike action over a “derisory” pay offer of 20p an hour, and proposals to switch from a five-day working-week to a seven-day working-week, which the union said would “adversely hit the work-life balance of the workforce”. It added that workers had complained of a “culture of bullying” at the 2 Sisters plants.
Quinn said that Unite would be happy to resume talks with 2 Sisters management if they put a “realistic pay offer on the table”.