Burton Latimer Weetabix strike suspended as shift pay talks continue

Weetabix, Burton Latimer.Weetabix, Burton Latimer.
Weetabix, Burton Latimer.
The strike could still take place next week if a resolution is not found

A strike which was planned at a Burton Latimer Weetabix plant has been suspended - but could now take place next week if a row over pay is not resolved.

Production workers represented by union Usdaw at the AP4 plant, which produces cereal bars, were due to walk out at 7pm last night (August 2) as part of a 24-hour stoppage.

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They had unanimously voted for industrial action after the cereal giant indicated that they would reduce unsociable hours premium pay.

But yesterday, just hours before the strike was due to begin, Usdaw announced they had decided to withdraw planned action to allow talks to continue after "positive" discussions.

Yesterday Ed Leach, Usdaw's area organiser, said: “We have been in talks with the company since we announced a 24-hour stoppage that was due to start tonight. In order to allow those talks to continue we have decided to withdraw the action planned for later today.

“Industrial action is now due to take place, subject to the progress of current discussions, on August 9 and 10.

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"We hope that the positive discussions earlier today can be maintained and a resolution can be achieved by the end of this week.

“Industrial action is very much a last resort, but the unanimous vote to strike shows the strength of feeling among our members on the value of the shift premium pay for unsocial hours.”

A spokesman for Weetabix Food Company said: "We are pleased that the strike has been postponed and are confident that over the next week we can reach a long-term agreement with our employees' representatives.

"Our success over nearly 90 years has been built on a strong sense of teamwork, and a mutually agreeable solution on new ways of working will allow us to continue to invest in our people, plants, and products long into the future."

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It's the second time in recent months that strike action at Weetabix has been called off before it was due to start.

A new 'fire and rehire' policy caused 80 angry engineers in Corby and Burton Latimer to vote for action, with their union Unite claiming some of the affected engineers would lose up to £5,000 a year.

But the strikes were suspended the day before they were due to take place after 'constructive talks', with Unite warning they were prepared to renew strike action if negotiations did not lead to a satisfactory resolution.

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