Bakery workers threaten strike action over lack of pay deal

A union representing workers at a Black Country bakery has warned of strike action unless an improved pay deal is forthcoming.

Unite represents more than 150 drivers and engineers working at Kingsmill’s West Bromwich depot. The bakery is part of the Allied Bakeries group.

The union said industrial action could disrupt Kingsmill deliveries to Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco supermarkets across the East and West Midlands, as well as parts of the North West.

Talks between the union and Allied Bakeries have been ongoing since May but have so far ended in deadlock.

The company said it had made what it believed, was a fair offer and one that had been accepted by drivers elsewhere in the UK.

However, the union said it was not satisfied with the offer and workers in West Bromwich were becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress.

Warning that its members were at “breaking point”, Unite said it was highly likely that members would back industrial action in a strike vote.

Joe Clarke, Unite regional officer said: “Unite members have become increasingly frustrated by Kingsmill and the bosses’ refusal to recognise their hard work with a cost of living pay rise.

“To add insult to injury we also have issues surrounding pay parity within the West Bromwich depot and pay inequality with other depots around the UK, in addition to the use of sub-contractors.

“Kingsmill should be under no illusion. Our members are highly likely to vote for strike action if given the opportunity, with strike action having a major impact on bread supplies to major supermarkets, such as Co-op and Tesco.”

He said Allied Bakeries needed to stop “dragging its feet” and offer a cost of living pay rise.

The Allied Bakeries site in West Bromwich underwent a £25m improvement just three years ago and is now one of the largest bakeries in the UK, employing around 400 people.