IUF affiliate Unite the Union and its JDE members held a large demonstration in front of the company’s Banbury (UK) factory on International Workers’ Day (May 1) in response to JDE’s plans to “dismiss and reengage” 291 workers at JDE Banbury. The demonstration received widespread public support from the local community.
Unite the Union JDE members also initiated a continuous overtime ban on May 1st with a series of 24 hour strikes to follow on May 8 & 9 and May 15 & 16. Additional strikes are planned.
- Increased pressure by Unite JDE members follows the April 26th launch of a national campaign by Unite to end the brutal ‘fire and rehire’ tactics used by a growing number of employers across the UK
- JDE also faces allegations that it offered inducements of £750 to some workers so they would accept lower pay and inferior employment conditions; these claims have been referred by Unite to the UK conciliation service, Acas
- Unite members have reported that JDE is trying to intimidate workers into signing contracts through aggressive one-to-one interviews with some workers reduced to tears in the process
- Further discussions are scheduled to take place between JDE and Unite (with Acas) on Friday, May 7
- The IUF will be mobilizing its affiliates with JDE Peet’s/JAB Holding membership to take further action in support of Unite members at JDE Banbury
Unite JDE Convenor Chris Moon said, “I’ve been here 26 years, my father worked here before me. It’s in our blood. We’ve always had a really good working relationship with the management team but in the last two to three years–since JDE came in–it’s become extremely toxic. They don’t want to work with us. We want to see this place stay for another 55 years but it just feels there is a systematic race to the bottom.”
Joe Clarke, Unite National Officer, added, “The only real large food & drink sector company that is using this draconian measure following COVID-19 is JDE. We are mobilized within the sector and within our union to fight back with strength.”
Photo credit: Miles Gomme, milesgimages.com