Members of the food workers’ Bfawu union met for their annual conference in Southport this week.
The conference began as two disputes at sites owned by food manufacturer 2 Sisters were ongoing (see below).
There was a debate around the union’s Fast Food Rights campaign. The campaign seeks to organise fast food workers to demand a £10 an hour Living Wage and an end to zero hours contracts.
A motion was defeated that called on the union to “spend more time on our existing full time membership rather than a campaign for £10 in the fast food industry”.
But speakers from the floor argued that fights in different sections of the food industry can’t be set against each other.
Steve Day from Scarborough said, “All workers should be paid £10 an hour.”
Bfawu organiser Gareth Lane said, “We need to talk about the union being a fighting union.”
The conference also renewed the union’s support for leaving the European Union (EU), with a motion calling on the union to change its position defeated.
Lorna McKinnon from Glasgow pointed to the deep divisions inside the Tory government over the EU.
She argued, “The EU is a bosses’ club. You only need to look at Greece to see what it is capable of. It subjects those from outside the EU to vicious racism.”
A motion to the conference calling for an LGBT+ seat on the union’s executive committee was remitted.
2 Sisters strike called off at Pennine
A planned seven-day strike at the Pennine food factory in Sheffield has been called off. The Bfawu union called off the action after bosses promised talks.
Workers at the food factory are fighting bosses’ plans to impose a new contract.
They have already struck for four days, organising militant picket lines. After strikers decided to escalate bosses agreed to postpone the new contracts and negotiate.
Meanwhile workers at the RF Brookes factory in Newport, south Wales, were also set to strike for two days from Thursday.
Socialist Worker understands the action may be called off following talks.
Both sites are owned by food manufacturer 2 Sisters.