Greencore workers vote for strike action at UK sandwich plant

A Greencore spokesperson said the food-to-go supplier is still committed to “reaching an agreement”.

Simon Harvey September 01 2023

Greencore workers at one of the convenience food maker’s UK plants have voted to strike after rejecting a pay offer.

Strike action at Greencore’s Manton Wood factory in Worksop, located in the east-Midlands’ county of Nottinghamshire, will start on 11 September and last until 9 October, according to the representative union Unite.

More than 500 staff are involved “following the failure of Greencore to make an improved offer”, Unite said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Greencore, which supplies major supermarkets, convenience stores and foodservice, said talks with the union had been ongoing since January but the “final” pay offer had been rejected by Unite.

The Manton Wood facility supplies sandwiches, wraps and baguettes to the food-to-go channel, according to the Dublin-headquartered company’s website.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Greencore workers do difficult work to ensure that sandwiches reach supermarket shelves across the country. Yet their employer, whilst making substantial profits, sees fit not to share the spoils with its workers.

“Our members will have the unceasing support of Unite in their fight for improved pay.”

Greencore, however, suggested it is willing to negotiate. “We will continue to liaise with both Unite and our Manton Wood colleagues with the aim of reaching agreement,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“Having been in discussions with union representatives regarding pay in respect to colleagues at our Manton Wood site since January, we are disappointed that Greencore’s final pay offer, which we believe to be both strong and competitive, has been rejected by union members on a small turnout.

“We will be undertaking a number of planning and mitigation measures at the site in the coming weeks in order to prevent any disruption to service levels for our customers should potential industrial action take place.”

Unite claimed consumers could face a shortage of sandwiches on shelves should the strike go ahead as planned, referring to Greencore as a “major supplier of sandwiches and ready meals to big supermarkets like Morrisons, Asda, Aldi, Lidl and Co-Op, as well as high street retailers like Boots”.

Unite regional officer Andy Shaw, added: “We see the profits Greencore is making but they won’t pay their workers a fair wage at a time of high inflation and high prices.

“It’s not too late to avoid this action if the company remembers where its profits come from and heads back to the negotiating table with an improved pay offer.”

Greencore booked a bottom-line loss of £6.2m ($7.8m) in the second quarter to 31 March, compared to a £1m profit a year earlier, according to the company’s financial report issued in May.

A trading update published in July for the third quarter to 30 June did not include profit figures. Revenue, however, rose 1.9% on a reported basis to £495.4m. Food-to-go sales were up 0.6% at £335.3m, while for other convenience products it climbed 4.7% to £160.1m

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