Socialist Worker

Sheffield food strikers stand firm against pay cuts

by Jennifer Dunstan
Issue No. 2504

On the Pennine picket

On the Pennine picket (Pic: Gareth Lane)


Workers at a food producer in Sheffield began a 48 hour strike today, Thursday, with a picket running day and night at the site to turn back lorries.

Bosses at Pennine Foods, owned by 2 Sisters food group have attacked workers pay. They want to take away the double time pay for Sundays for people who have worked at the company a long time. Other workers are get time and a half, but bosses want to scrap this too.

The strikers are members of the Bfawu union. Out of everyone who took part in the strike ballot a couple of weeks ago, only 40 people voted not to strike.

The bosses have already cut perks to working a bank holiday, which would previously earn staff time and a half and a day in lieu.

The staff have all had letters about the cut in pay but have been given no specific reason for the sudden and unfair cut in wages.

Striker Sally, who works on “high care'” packing, told Socialist Worker that even though those 40 staff members voted against the strike, they still came out. She said that they could see the strength of determination among the workers and decided to join.

Molly has worked at Pennine for 28 years – and says this is the first strike she’s seen there. To her knowledge this company has never been on strike.

On a typical 12 hour shift, staff get paid 10 hour 55 minutes with paid breaks. But these too are being cut as part of new proposals.

Pennine supervisors have phoned up several members and ordered them to come in with threat of disciplinary actions if they don't. But one worker said that all who were approached said no and stayed with the strike.

"If we didn't do this this year, I reckon they will take our sick pay, maternity pay, the works." Said Sally

Workers on the picket are getting more and more confident. They have so far succeeded in turning away six lorries, including a huge M&S lorry that had come to collect produce.

Workers names have been changed

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