Bakery staff vote in favour of walk-out

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HUNDREDS of workers at a bakery near Sheffield have voted overwhelmingly for strike action.

A ballot at Gunstones, in Dronfield, showed 95 per cent of union members were in favour of staging a walk-out.

The bakery employs more than 1,000 people, and the vote was held after owners Two Sisters Food Group proposed changes to workers’ pay and conditions.

Under the changes, employees would not receive extra pay on bank holidays and would be paid less at weekends, as well as having to work flexible hours.

Overtime payments would also be cut and sick pay reduced and a pay freeze put in place for this year.

A worker at the bakery, who didn’t want to be named, said he and his colleagues were ‘quite happy’ with the result of the ballot.

“We’ve now got a stronger position when we go back into negotiation. But I could see us striking if it came to it.”

The staff member said he thought the proposed contract changes were ‘completely unrealistic’.

Another employee, who had worked at the bakery for 20 years, added: “Morale on the shop floor is at an absolute zero. I can definitely see us walking out. ”

Gunstones’ management are expected to table a new offer tomorrow, and workers have 28 days to take action.

A spokesman for Two Sisters said the firm was ‘disappointed’ with the ballot result but ‘still confident of working towards a resolution’.

“We need to ensure Gunstones can remain a viable site. We will continue to work with the trade unions to discuss these proposals,” he said.

Voting papers were sent to around 800 members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union at the bakery.

Gunstones opened its first bakery in Sheffield in 1925 and moved to Dronfield in 1950.

The company makes bread rolls, sandwiches and cakes, and supplies many of its products to Marks and Spencer.