Sheffield workers at M&S food supplier to strike

Workers at a Sheffield food producer that makes meals for M&S are set to take part in a two-day strike this week in a row over pay changes.

Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 9:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2016, 9:21 am
Pennine Foods in Sheffield wheere workers are due to strike over changes to their terms and conditions

Members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union employed at Pennine Foods, near Crystal Peaks shopping centre, are to take part in industrial action on Thursday and Friday.

The company makes around 750,000 meals a week for Marks & Spencer.

Pennine Foods employs 714 people. The company said 275 union members voted in a ballot on industrial action, with 232 in favour of a strike, 40 against and three invalid ballot papers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It follows a dispute with the union over the terms and conditions of a new contract workers are being asked to sign which includes changes such as removing extra pay for working weekends and removing lieu days for working weekends.

A source told The Star some workers feel management are ‘scaring people into signing’ the new contracts.

A letter to staff from site manager Kevin Read said further industrial action is also planned in June and July, with walkouts planned every fortnight.

It stated that staff who took part in the strike would not be paid and said it will be ‘business as usual’ at the site on the days of industrial action.

He said: “If the decision to take industrial action is by way of a strike, this does not make going on strike compulsory for anyone who is either a union or non-union member.

“However, just to be clear, if you take part in strike action you will receive no pay for this period.

“Clearly it will be business as usual and we will make sure anyone wishing to come to work as normal that day is supported in terms of accessing the factory.”

A spokesman for 2Sisters Food Group, the parent company of Pennine Foods, said: “We are disappointed some colleagues have decided on industrial action, given the union leadership’s acceptance of our new terms in February.

“We will of course be holding more talks to avert any further action, and have contingency plans in place to ensure production remains unaffected.

“We are committed to securing a long-term, sustainable future for Pennine Foods, as we showed last year with a £38m investment programme to upgrade the factory into a world-class production facility.”

The company announced in September it was to spend £38m rebuilding its factory, with the work due to be completed by the end of 2017.