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Engineers employed at Weetabix factories are set to begin a series of two-day strikes this month in a dispute over what their trade union describes as a fire-and-rehire proposals that will result in some being as much as £5,000 per year worse off.
Unite members based at the company’s factories in Kettering and Corby in Northamptonshire say they face being dismissed and re-engaged on new contracts that change shifts and working patterns. Weetabix denied it was considering a "fire and rehire" approach.
Strike action was originally scheduled for June but was postponed to allow for in-depth talks with management. Those talks led to new proposals, but these were rejected by 82% of members in a consultative ballot
Unite said it will begin a series of 48-hour strikes on Tuesday 21 September on a weekly basis throughout the autumn with the final strike scheduled for 30 November.
General secretary Sharon Graham said: “The idea of ‘fire and rehire’ is abhorrent to me. If Weetabix decide to go down this route and they overstep the line then I will absolutely defend our members.”
The industrial action is likely to cause production delays and could lead to shortages of Weetabix cereal and other products including Alpen, Weetos and Oatibix.