UK union Unite has said the meeting with Heinz to find a resolution to the ongoing dispute over pay was “disappointing” and like “shuffling the deckchairs on a ship”.
The US food group is at odds with workers at its flagship UK plant over pay and staff have held two 24-hour stoppages in the last week after rejecting the company’s pay offer.
Unite had accepted an invitation to meet with Heinz yesterday (22 December), in the hope that both sides could find an “acceptable resolution”.
In a statement today, Heinz said it had made a “revised offer” to the union, including the reinstatement of a performance-related bonus, which was rejected.
However, the union told just-food today that no revised offer was tabled and that talks and strikes will continue.
“There was no revised offer, it was just like shuffling the deckchairs on the ship, that’s all,” Ian Wright, campaign officer for Unite said. “It was absolutely terrible, we are just extremely disappointed that the meeting came to nothing. We entered the meeting in genuine faith and a genuine commitment to resolve this dispute but the management prefer not to offer any more value.”
“We are still in talks with management, we held talks again this morning and we want to try and resolve this dispute as quickly and amicably as possible,” he added.
A spokesperson for Heinz told just-food that the “revised offer” included the reinstatement of a performance related bonus and the removal of the healthcare provision.
“We talked about RPI (retail price index) and CPI (consumer price index), that none of our competitors pay. The offer was based on a structure that was in place previously, that they had a guaranteed two weeks pay this year and that we continued paying 4% for the achievement of our operating plan from next year,” the Heinz spokesperson said. “They also wanted the removal of the healthcare provision, which they said they could get cheaper elsewhere. Unite are unlikely to put that to workers.”
Unite said two further 24-hours strike will still go ahead on 29 December from 21:50 and 4 January from 17:50.