Staff at a factory that produces own-brand products for supermarkets like Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, and M&S are set to go on strike for five weeks over pay.

More than 700 employees at the Bakkavor food manufacturing plant in Spalding, Lincolnshire, which produces own-brand soups, sauces, and deli products, have turned down a 6.5 percent pay increase and will now walk out at the end of November.

The Unite union says this amounted to a “substantial pay cut,” given that the RPI rate of inflation is now 14.2 percent.

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The factory workers will now go on strike from November 25.

Many employees at the location make just 1p more per hour than the federal minimum wage, and some are compelled to use food banks.

Unite said that Bakkavor, the owner, reported an increase in adjusted operating earnings of 22 percent to £102 million for 2021.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The situation these workers face is exactly what is wrong with Britain’s economy today: A company earning millions and millions in profits expecting already low-paid workers to take a pay cut while prices soar.

Unite will not tolerate attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and our Bakkavor members have the union’s complete backing as they strike for a better deal.”

Unite regional officer Ravinder Assi added: “Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and M&S all have a case to answer if they do not pressure Bakkavor to use some of its massive profits to give these workers a proper pay rise.

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“Supermarket customers will be appalled to know that the own-brand goods they are buying are made by supply chain workers who are being treated so disgracefully. Bakkavor can well afford to put forward an offer our members can accept and needs to do so.”

Bakkavor is “disappointed” that the strike is going ahead and said its pay offer is “competitive in the local market.”

The strikes are expected to have an impact on the retailers that the factory serves, but Bakkavor has stated that it has put contingency plans in place to minimise disruption.

Source: Retail Gazette

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