Unite says the 230-strong workforce at Greencore Cakes factory in Hull is being bullied by redundancy threat into accepting cuts to minimum wage, take-home pay (Image courtesy of Unite)

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A group of bakery workers from Hull is in Ireland lobbying to try to stop their employer forcing ‘sign or be sacked contracts’ on the workforce.

(Pictured: Unite reps deliver petition to Greencore head office, Dublin. Image courtesy of Unite)

More than 230 workers at Greencore Cakes and Desserts factory in Hull have been threatened with dismissal if they refuse to sign up to new terms which would include attacks on overtime and would abolish premiums for shift and holiday working.

Greencore’s biggest customer is Tesco, but the bakery also supplies the other major supermarket groups.

A delegation of Unite reps has delivered a petition signed by hundreds of workers to the company’s headquarters at Santry, in Dublin.

Addressed to Greencore’s Chief Executive, Patrick Coveney, the petition calls for a living wage and urges Greencore management to stop the attacks on their pay and conditions.

The workers also hope to enlist the support of the Irish Government, which has a ‘golden share’ in the company, and of Simon Coveney, the Minister of Agriculture (and brother of Patrick Coveney) to urge them to halt implementation of the cuts to take-home pay.

Unite national officer for food and drink, Jennie Formby, said: “Unite members at Greencore are furious over Greencore’s rotten behaviour towards its workers.

“Our members only want what’s fair. A living wage instead of minimum wage, and a fair rate for overtime, shift work and bank holiday working.

“Greencore management say they value their employees, but their bullying behaviour in threatening Hull workers with their jobs if they don’t accept pay cuts proves the opposite is the case. Greencore says it can’t afford to pay fair rates, but its sales and market share is increasing and Greencore is a profitable, successful and growing company.

“We urge the Irish government and Minister of Agriculture to use the power of their ‘golden share’ to exert pressure on Greencore management to make them stop the attacks on their loyal cake and dessert workers in Hull and give them a fair share of the cake.”

Unite has filed a complaint with Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) against Greencore’s behaviour towards the 236-strong workforce and what it says is a breach of the ETI Base Code which requires all supermarkets to insist their suppliers provide a platform of rights for employees.

Unite is urging Greencore management to enter into meaningful negotiations over reinstating fair pay and conditions for their workers.


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