Unite the Union

Unite the Union

December 05, 2007 08:36 ET

Christmas cracker strike threat as workers ballot on industrial action

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 5, 2007) - Unite, the UK's largest trade union, is balloting its members at Jacob's Bakery for industrial action over staff being made to work at Christmas.

Workers at Jacob's Bakery at Aintree, which produces the famous cream cracker, are angry about changes being made to their work practices which will make it compulsory to work over the Christmas period. Unite says this goes against the flexible shift patterns that have been in place for workers over the Christmas period for many years.

Unite say the new arrangements will require maintenance workers to work over the Christmas period whereas previously they ensured production was covered without individuals being forced to work. Unite will begin to ballot its' members today (Wednesday 5th December) for industrial action over the proposed changes.

The changes being introduced will affect engineers and electricians at the site in Aintree. At present, they work a 50 week shift pattern which holidays are built into. During the Christmas period, which starts on 16th December, they must work five shifts that allow them to work when they want in Christmas week, providing production is covered, enabling staff to spend time with their families.

Unite Regional Officer, Debbie Brannan said: "This takes the biscuit for Scrooge behaviour and our members are understandably cheesed off.
"The company is acting like Scrooge and going against the spirit of Christmas. To deny its' staff flexibility at this time of year, and without sufficient warning, is absolutely crackers. Many of our members have to balance work with family and other responsibilities and for some Christmas is the only time that they can spend time with their family as they often don't get holidays during the school holidays because of their shift patterns.

"We are asking the company to show some festive spirit and give our members a choice to work when they want to cover the holiday period."
The ballot is scheduled to close on 17th December 2007, leaving the door open for strike action to begin before Christmas.

Contact Information

  • Catherine Bithell
    020 7 420 8909 or 07958 473 224
    Debbie Brannan
    07768 931271