Unite up in arms over Bakkavör cuts

Posted on 7 Dec 2010 by The Manufacturer

The union Unite claims it is incompetence on behalf of international food company Bakkavör which is leading the firm to cut 170 jobs at its factory in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Bakkavör, an Icelandic company, announced this morning that following a consultation period it had decided to make 170 redundancies at its site in Bourne, near Spalding which are “essential in giving our business a future”. However, the firm said that by rearranging shift patterns and transferring some employees to other sites, it had managed to reduce its original reduction estimates from 375.

Unite, though, was left furious at the announcement, insisting that only yesterday the company agreed to engage in further discussions to look at cost saving measures to save jobs.

In addition, Bakkavör said it had improved its redundancy package and will not now be reducing pay for remaining employees, which Unite contests.

“We are particularly angry on behalf of the workforce that management has unilaterally announced the consultation is over when we still have meetings planned to look at alternatives to some of the proposals,” said Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for food and drink.

“Moreover, Bakkavör’s statement implies they are making very few changes but nothing could be further from the truth. They have savagely cut earnings by up to £105 per week and they have slashed holiday pay and other premia. Yet management are protected from these cuts; yes there will be some redundancies but managers’ pay and conditions remain intact.

“Bakkavör ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

She said “a catalogue of management incompetence over several years” includes failing to allow for foreign exchange fluctuations and ill conceived commissioning of new machinery which is costing the firm money.

“They are not in a ‘make or break situation’ but are trying to terrify workers into accepting poverty pay,” she added.

Unite has organised a protest against the cuts in Spalding town centre on Friday December 17.

Bakkavör employs 20,000 people worldwide including 2,500 in the UK. There will be 700 remaining at the Bourne site, after these cuts, where the company makes salads, sandwiches, soups and sauces.