Kingsmill bakery calls off planned strike

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Kingsmill strike called off. Pic: Kingsmill bakery.
Kingsmill strike called off. Pic: Kingsmill bakery.

Related tags Trade union Strike action Tesco

Kingsmill bakery drivers, maintenance staff and security personal have called off a planned strike after accepting a revised pay offer.

BakeryandSnacks reported last month​ the workers voted 82% to go on strike after a row over pay, which was allegedly lower than the current rate of inflation and did not reflect the cost of living.

'A good outcome'

Speaking to Unite trade union, Joe Clarke, lead office for the food sector, about 130 drivers, maintenance staff and security personnel at the Birmingham Road site in the UK had agreed to a new pay package on Wednesday (December 6).

As part of the agreed deal with ABF Grain Products Ltd, the exact terms won’t be disclosed,” ​he said. 

“The pay rise, backdated to April 2017, is slightly over 2.5%, with a 2% increase for year two starting in April 2018. This is coupled with a further market rate payment adjustment of 0.5% and a further 0.6% payment for a 12 month voluntary arrangement for the working time derogation.​ 

“This deal reflects a good outcome with an overall package which sees the desired improvements to rates of pay that we have been pushing for at Allied Bakeries Kingsmill West Bromwich. ​ 

“The industrial action has now been called off after the workforce voted overwhelmingly to accept the revised offer and our members are working normally.​ 

“I would like to thank our members for the solidarity that they have shown which has brought about this positive outcome and we look forward to a constructive relationship with the management going forward," ​added Clarke.

1.5 million loaves a week

The dispute happened after the employees, who supply Kingsmill bread to Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco across the Midlands and the North West, had grown "increasingly frustrated" with the firm since pay talks started in May. ​​

Had the strike gone ahead, it could have led to a pre-Christmas ‘bread drought’ across the Midlands and North West because the Birmingham Road site produces 1.5 million loaves a week, as well as rolls and muffins.

Kingsmill owner Allied Bakeries said however, had that gone ahead, it did have plans in place.

‘We’re pleased to confirm we have reached an agreement on pay and conditions with the delivery drivers at our West Bromwich bakery. The deal is in line with that agreed across our other UK sites and is competitive in the local area​," an Allied Bakeries spokesman said. 

As part of this two-year agreement we have achieved an improvement in shift pattern flexibility which we believe works well for our employees and the company. Everyone at the West Bromwich bakery is now looking forward to getting back to business as usual​.’’

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