UK-based chilled ready meals producer Oscar Mayer has heavily criticised the claims that it is using ‘fire and rehire’ policies against employees at its facility in Wrexham.

Last week, trade union Unite accused the Tesco, Co-op and Sainsbury’s supplier of engaging in a plan to “fire and rehire” workers at the plant in a bit to cut £2,237 ($2,834) a year.

In a statement, the group said Oscar Mayer planned “to end paid breaks, remove bank holiday rates and time off in lieu and change shift patterns to reduce pay”.

Workers were allegedly told they would be required to accept the changes by signing new contracts or risk redundancy.

Responding to the claims in a statement, Ian Toal, chief executive of Oscar Mayer, said the accusations were “an entirely inaccurate reflection on the consultation process we continue to undertake at our Wrexham site.

“We have held numerous meetings with colleague representatives and, through what continues to be a constructive consultation process, have already updated our proposal following feedback from those representatives.

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“These proposals are not made lightly, but we believe are necessary to ensure a long-term sustainable future for our business. We remain in consultation with all those who could be impacted and are hopeful of reaching an agreement.”

Unite said it has been barred from representing Oscar Mayer workers during the negotiations.

Workplace representatives have also allegedly been unable “to explain the full impact of the proposals to the workforce or present alternative courses of action”, as a result of “lack of training in collective bargaining, language barriers and because the company has deliberately rushed the consultation”.

In a statement, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The way Oscar Mayer is treating its workers is an utter disgrace. Fire and rehire is consistently used by the worst of the worst employers and must be banned.

“Unite will not stand for Oscar Mayer’s thuggish behaviour and our members will receive their union’s maximum support.”

Oscar Mayer, now majority-owned by debt manager Pemberton Asset Management, first announced plans to cut jobs at the Wrexham site in April.

Some 135 roles were said to be at risk, though 101 new roles were also expected to be made at the site.