Union members at a Spalding food factory have voted for strike action in a dispute over pay.
Staff at the Spalding Bakkavor site have planned a walk-out in protest over the company’s offer of a 1.5 per cent pay increase and a 1.5 per cent lump sum.
A spokesman for Unite, the union that organised the strike, said this comes “at a time when the food manufacturer is raking in tens of millions in profit”.
The union reports that Bakkavor Foods Ltd has posted £105m in pre-tax profits and has a turnover of £1.6bn.
The ballot revealed 83 per cent of Unite members who took part in the ballot voted for strike action. Bakkavor said this amounted to 27 per cent of the Spalding workforce.
The site in Spalding employs more than 1,000 workers across four divisions: soups and sauces, dips, salads and distribution.
Workers at the site are calling for a substantial increase which recognises the contribution they have made to the company’s year on year increase in profits.
A typical worker earns around £9.36 an hour, according to
Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “Bosses at Bakkavor have absolutely no justification for suppressing workers’ pay year on year when the company has increased its profits year on year.
“Between 2014 and 2018 Bakkavor’s profits have increased by a massive £40m but management has left hard-up workers with no choice except to take strike action to fight for their fair share.
“There is still time left to resolve this dispute and we hope management will get around the negotiating table with a view to reaching an agreement which recognises the workers’ contribution to the success of the business.”
The union’s regional Facebook group has posted information for workers taking action in English and Polish and said the window within which strike action could take place runs from December 16 to May 11, 2020.
A Bakkavor spokesman said in response to the proposed action: “We have been in ongoing, extensive dialogue with employees and the Unite Union regarding the 2019 pay proposal at Spalding. We believe the pay proposal we have put forward delivers a competitive, above-inflation pay increase for all colleagues.
“Under 30% of all colleagues at the site voted in favour of strike action, and as such we are disappointed that our proposal has been rejected and that a ballot for strike action has been passed.
“As a business, we have detailed contingency plans in place to ensure that we continue to serve our customers and that any disruption is kept to a minimum.
“We would encourage the Union to engage with us to ensure this issue is resolved swiftly in the interests of all employees.”