Employees at three chicken processing sites owned by the 2 Sisters Food Group will be staging a three days of 24-hour strikes after voting for industrial action.
The strike will affect the supply of chicken from the Birmingham-based food group to takeaway chain KFC and supermarkets Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.
Workers at two sites in West Bromwich and one in Wolverhampton were balloted by the union Unite, with almost all of the 57% of unionised employees voting for industrial action.
The entire workforce at these three sites will each walk out for 24 hours, putting a huge dent in production as 1,200 employees walk out just a week before Christmas.
2 Sisters Food Group has put an above inflation pay offer on the table, which includes a five per cent rise in the next 12 months and a further two per cent the following year. However, regional officer at Unite Des Quinn called it “a paltry pay offer.”
Tensions have arisen over the expansion plans at 2 Sisters Food Group. A company spokesperson said that workers are unhappy at plans to open the chicken cutting facilities around the clock. The move would create another 500 jobs at each factory but would require workers to work some weekends.
2 Sisters Food Group is attempting to ramp-up chicken production ahead of Christmas and supply a new contract with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, with deliveries due in two months time.
The spokesperson said that demand can’t be met with the existing work pattern, adding that the strike was being “driven by Unite as most people as most individuals are telling management that they don’t want to lose money by striking before Christmas.”
The first 24-hour strike will start at 6.00am on Friday 14 December when workers will walk-out in a dispute over pay and conditions.
There will also be a continuous overtime ban, non-cooperation and work-to-rule from Friday 14 December.
“The management should be under no illusion at the depth of anger that our members feel at the way they have been treated for far too long by this company,” said Mr Quinn.