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Brutal fire and rehire fight at JDE + Weetabix + Biomedical scientists + Bromley libraries + Sunrise Medical

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Issue 2759
Protesting at the JDE plant last Saturday
Protesting at the JDE plant last Saturday (Pic: Julie Simmons)

Brazen Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) bosses admitted to the workers they recently sacked that they had been planning for industrial action for two years.

Unite union national officer Joe Clarke spoke to protesters outside the coffee plant in Banbury, Oxfordshire, last week. He said during talks JDE representatives said they effectively engineered this dispute over fire and rehire.

But workers have stood up to bullying bosses’ attempts to force them to sign new contracts. These mean the loss of thousands of pounds a year.

As one worker remarked, “Management has turned a group of people who thought of themselves as moderate into a bunch of militants.”


Unite members have been on an overtime ban since 1 May and have held a series of 24-hour strikes and one 72-hour strike since 8 May.

The equivalent of hundreds of millions of cups of coffee has been lost in production.

Barry Gardiner MP launched his bill to outlaw fire and rehire on Monday afternoon outside the plant.

However the strikes need to be escalated. An all-out indefinite strike can win.

Pat Carmody

Donations to branch SE6228—sort code 60-83-01, a/c number 33200424, name 5/614. Messages of support to @Banbury3001 on Twitter

Weetabix strikes can make bosses crumble

Workers at Weetabix factories in Kettering and Corby, Northamptonshire, will strike later this month over the company’s plans to fire and rehire them.

Unite union members voted for strikes last week as they could face cuts of up to £5,000 a year.

Strikes will begin on Wednesday 23 June, and will continue every Wednesday until mid-September.

Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel said, “Weetabix and its parent company Post Holdings are enormously profitable. This attack on pay is clearly all about greed and not need.

“Workers should be thanked and rewarded for their hard work and dedication but instead Post Holdings and Weetabix are trying to use the pandemic to grubbily boost their profits.”

Workers are also concerned about health and safety, and bosses’ plans will mean less engineers on shift at certain times.

Victory at Bromley library

The Unite union has claimed a victory at Bromley Central Library over late night openings with fewer staff.

Talks last week with the employer Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) led to an agreement. Instead of working up to four late nights a fortnight, library staff will work one late night a week.

The strike the 17 workers voted unanimously for, to start on 14 June, won’t go ahead.

GLL had reduced staffing and asked staff to increase the number of late nights they worked.

Lancashire biomedical scientists fight on

NHS bosses at a Lancashire NHS trust have rejected the offer of talks. Twenty-one biomedical scientists’ from Unite union said a month of strikes from 21 June to 28 July will take place.

This follows from the current strikes that started on 31 May and end on 21 June.

The trust management reneged on the 2019 pay upgrade deal that it originally agreed to.

Unite said that its 21 members were owed back pay of between several hundred pounds to £8,000.

Strikes held at Sunrise Medical

Planned strikes at electric wheelchair maker Sunrise Medical in Dudley have been postponed after pay talks were announced.

The workers from Unite union were due to begin industrial action on Monday 14 June, with another strike on Friday 18 June.

If the talks do not lead to a resolution, the strikes scheduled for Monday 21 June and Friday 25 June will go ahead.

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