“We’re aiming for a knockout in round three, but if we have to go the full 12 rounds then we’re ready.”
Unite union national officer Joe Clarke reflected the determined mood of workers at the Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) coffee plant in Banbury. They held a 24-hour strike on Saturday in a fight against attacks on pay, shift patterns and pensions.
On Friday, Unite’s talks with JDE broke down with the employer refusing to withdraw the “fire and rehire” notice to 291 workers.
The strike was solid, and despite the rain the protest was larger than last week’s demonstration. It was hard to hear the speakers at the rally due to the constant din of local motorists beeping their support as they drove by.
“People are so angry at the way they’ve been treated—I’ve never seen this workplace so united,” one worker said.
A JDE spokesman admitted to the Banbury Guardian newspaper, “We are not producing coffee today.”
Round two is another 24-hour strike from 7am next Saturday, 15 May, and the third round of action escalates to a 72-hour strike from Wednesday 26 May.