This follows unsuccessful negotiations between Unite regional officer Tony Hulbert and the cereal manufacturer’s management to reinstate manufacturing operative Justin Beckett. Talks held on 4 November ended without a resolution.
The union claimed that Beckett, a rep of 10 years standing, lost his job ‘unfairly’, following a minor verbal exchange with a colleague. Beckett allegedly had an ‘unblemished’ 18-year work record with the cereal manufacturer before being sacked on 7 September.
Two side to the tale
“Unfortunately, we cannot comment on individual employee matters. Where there is cause for dismissal, we follow strict company disciplinary procedures,” a spokesperson for Cereal Partners told BakeryAndSnacks.
“We regret that Unite is considering industrial action and will continue to engage openly with Unite representatives on this issue.”
More than 100 of the 170 workers employed at Cereal Partners’ Staverton site are Unite members. The company, a joint venture between General Mills and Nestlé established in 1991, produces the Shredded Wheat and Shreddies breakfast cereals that are sold under the Nestlé brand.
Industry action could see production of breakfast cereals being adversely affected at the Cereal Partners’ factory in Towbridge, Wiltshire.
The Union questioned the management’s attitude and said it gave no commitment to reinstate Beckett.
“The management has a final opportunity to resolve this dispute before the union moves to the next stage, which is industrial action,” said Hulbert.
“I have another scheduled meeting with the company on Thursday (10 November), which gives the management a chance to do the right thing and reinstate Justin, who enjoys maximum support from his work colleagues.”
Unite members at the site will be called upon to take industrial action, including strikes, in support of Beckett.