'Last resort' as Hull cake firm staff stage 24-hour strike
HUNDREDS of workers at a cake firm in Hull have staged a 24-hour walk-out.
More than 400 workers took part in the industrial action at Greencore Cakes and Desserts in Amsterdam Road.
The protest, which began at 5am on Wednesday, was used to voice their anger at what Unite the Union say are continued attacks on their pay and conditions.
Michael Page, a mixer at the factory, took his place on the picket line but said the protest was a "last resort."
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Mr Page, 48, said: "The way this company has treated us is disgusting.
"While some workers are losing their homes and can't afford to pay their bills, management are taking bonuses. It's not right.
"In 2010, we agreed to taking voluntary pay cuts to help the company but now they are refusing to reinstate the conditions.
"If this company is doing so badly, why are some people suffering when others are not?"
Last year, Greencore, was forced by a tribunal to pay back £1.2 million to its workers – however, the company has rebuffed the decision and instead issued new contracts to the workforce.
However, according to workers, the new contracts do not include the reinstatement of their original pay conditions.
Representatives from Unite joined workers at the protest.
Jennie Formby, national officer for the food industry at Unite, said: "Make no mistake, this company is being powered to super profits by the hard graft of our members – not content with this, it is out to snatch their wages too.
"Our members are being really patient but enough is enough.
"Even yesterday at its AGM, the company voted for fatter bonuses. How is that right?
"We want Greencore to sit down and talk to us because this is only going to escalate.
"Once again we appeal to the big retailers like Asda to get a grip on their supply chain. It is immoral for their tills to be stuffed when you know full well that this is money from workers kept on low wages by your contractors."
According to Unite, Greencore, whose revenue rocketed by about 45 per cent last year, is seeking to impose changes to terms and conditions and remove shift, overtime and bank holiday payments.
The strike was the first at the Hull site and hit production of cakes supplied to supermarkets including, Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's.
Worker Wayne Holmes, 38, said: "This is beyond frustrating because they have already lost an employment tribunal but yet they are still not willing to give back what is rightfully ours.
"We have had no other choice but to strike and hopefully now they will get the picture. None of us want to be here striking today. We want to be at work earning money for our families."