Biscuit strike called off at the last minute

The Fox's Biscuits factory in Wesham and (below) Geoff Atkinson.

The Fox's Biscuits factory in Wesham and (below) Geoff Atkinson.

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WORKERS at a Fylde biscuit firm have abandoned strike action at the 11th hour after an improved offer was made by the company.

The 400 staff at Fox’s in Whitworth Street, Wesham, have agreed to accept a two-year pay deal coupled to changes in their terms and conditions.

Strikes had been planned for last night and for the next three Wednesdays in a battle which began in April.

Workers had voted three times to reject the company’s terms and had balloted for industrial action in September.

But after a last minute meeting with the company they voted to accept the deal.

The firm’s latest offer was for a three per cent pay rise this year and a two-and- a-half per cent pay rise next year.

However, they have also reduced redundancy pay to statutory levels only, taken away double time payments for Sunday night shifts and brought in bank holiday working from 2014 with no extra pay and with the holidays lumped together as a week off.

The company, part of the Midland’s based 2 Sisters Group which racked up pre-tax three-month profits to April of £17.3m, said it wanted to make the changes to remain competitive in the current tough economic conditions.

Organising regional secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) Geoff Atkinson said although the industrial action was called off the strong stance taken by the staff had brought the improved offer.

He said: “The workers voted to accept the deal by 43 votes.

“I believe they do not want the changes to conditions, but in the current economic climate they decided to accept.”

A spokesman for 2 Sisters today said they were happy the dispute had resolved amicably.

He added: “We’re pleased employees have accepted our very attractive offer, after a lengthy process, and the union has now dropped its proposed industrial action.

“While less than 20 per cent of employees at the two sites voted for industrial action, it is essential none of us potentially harmed the good reputation of Fox’s Biscuits.

“The biscuits market remains tough but we believe we have committed people, a great brand and fantastic products.

“Working together, we can put all of our energy into growing our business and delighting our customers and consumers.”

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