Some 300 workers at Samworth Brothers food manufacturer in Leicester met on Friday of last week to discuss bosses’ plans to cut their pay.
Workers received a letter from managers threatening to cut rates of pay on Sundays and bank holidays, reduce night-shift supplements and scrap paid breaks.
Bosses also want to get rid of overtime by 2018.
Bosses at Samworth say a wage increase will mean most workers will be “better off”. But workers say the attacks on premiums will leave them out of pocket.
One worker told Socialist Worker, “They say we’ll be better off. This year we will be better off, but by 2017 and 2018 we’ll be worse off. By 2018 I’ll be losing about £1,000 a year”.
He added that workers have been told they will face dismissal if they don’t sign up to the changes.
He said, “They said if people aren’t happy about it we’ll give them their 12 weeks notice.”
The meeting was organised by the Bfawu union.
More than half of the people at the meeting were not union members—but hundreds had joined after hearing of bosses’ plans.
One worker said, “We’re trying to get people signed up to the union. We’ve got 20-30 percent in the union. We need 50 percent.
“People are scared to take the form to work just in case there’s a locker search. But in the last 10 days about 400 people across the sites have joined.”