More photos - Banbury demonstration against 'fire and rehire' at JDE coffee factory receives big support. Company says it is 'disappointed'

Photographer Miles Gomme has provided more photos of yesterday's (Saturday) demonstration outside the Jacobs Douwe Egberts coffee factory in Banbury.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 11:57 am
Updated Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 12:04 pm
Unite the Union organised a Covid-secure demonstration outside the JDE factory. Picture by Milesimages at Milesimages.com

The demonstration was led by Unite the Union whose members - dubbed the Banbury 300 - are being consulted over contentious 'fire and rehire' notices.

JDE wants to cut costs at the Ruscote Avenue factory to make the business more competitive. But sources close to the plant said last week - see the Banbury Guardian report - the factory produces in 12 hours what European JDE factories take a week to process.

The workers say they feel betrayed by the company after applying themselves to an increase in demand over the pandemic.

Demonstrators gathered in family bubbles for the protest. Picture by Miles Gomme at Milesimages.com

A JDE spokesman said after the demonstration: "We are obviously disappointed that some associates have chosen to take part in protests today but respect their right to make their voices heard.

"We encourage associates to also share their views on the terms of the proposals through the official consultation process. We appreciate change is difficult but we have always been clear there is an overwhelming need to reset Banbury’s manufacturing operations to safeguard the factory for the future.”

The spokesman said the claim that Banbury is the 'most cost-effective plant' is incorrect.

A debate on 'fire and rehire' practices was held in Westminster last week. Banbury MP Victoria Prentis did not attend the debate but posted a comment on the JDE situation on her website last week. In it she said: "...it has been made clear to me that some structural changes need to be made to secure its future in Banbury. We all want JDE to remain in the town and not look to take its operations elsewhere."

Demonstrators in front of the JDE factory where instant coffee is processed. Picture by Miles Gomme of Milesimages.com

However Unite members at yesterday's demonstration said if employers thought they can make more profit by doing moving the business out of the UK they would do it anyway.

The use of fire and rehire tactics during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a number of calls to reform the legislation. Here is a link to the information from last week's Westminster debate on the subject - https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cdp-2021-0066/

One of scores of demonstrators outside the JDE gates and along the verges of Ruscote Avenue. Picture by Miles Gomme of Milesimages.com
Joe Clarke, Unite representative for food, drink and agriculture, with one of the big union banners at the protest. Picture by Miles Gomme of Milesimages.com