Unite the union announces new strike dates for workers at the Banbury coffee factory

Unite the union has announced new strike dates for workers at the Banbury coffee factory run by Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE).

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 7:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 7:10 pm
Unite the union announces new strike dates for workers at the Banbury coffee factory

Crunch talks are being held tomorrow (Friday May 7) in a bid to resolve the ‘fire and rehire’ dispute involving nearly 300 workers at JDE in Banbury.

Talks between Unite the union and the management come as the union plans to ramp up strike action later this month, following the decision by the Dutch-owned company to issue notice of dismissal and engagement for 291 employees.

An already announced 24 hour strike will be held between 7am on Saturday May 8 and 7am on Sunday May 9.

This will be followed by newly announced dates for a 24 hour strike on May 15 starting at 7am and ending at 7am on May 16, and then a 72 hour strike starting at 6am on May 26 and running until 7am on May 29. A continuous overtime ban also started on May 1.

Workers just held a demonstration at all gates of the JDE factory on Southam Road and Ruscote Avenue last Saturday May 1.

Joe Clarke, the national officer for Unite the union, said: “We going into tomorrow’s talks with JDE management in a constructive frame of mind, as we believe that no coherent business case has been made for these despicable ‘fire and rehire’ proposals.

“However, if this highly profitable firm digs its heels in, we have a programme of strike action in place for this month starting with a 24 hour strike on Saturday (8 May), as well as the continuous overtime ban which began on 1 May.

“We believe that this industrial action will eventually cause severe disruption to production schedules and therefore hit the company where it hurts – on the bottom line which won’t amuse the global management.

“The community has shown great support to our members and people are horrified by the dogmatic and hardline attitude of local bosses that could be a body blow to the regional economy.

"Some of our members could lose between £7,000 - £12,000-a-year which may mean some of them losing their homes.”

Unite has repeatedly raised the alarm over an outbreak of ‘fire and rehire’ disputes across the UK as unscrupulous employers look to exploit workers using Covid-19 as an excuse.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Fire and rehire' is ripping through our workplaces like a disease. Weak law lets bad bosses force through brutal changes to contracts, sometimes taking thousands of pounds off wages that families need to get by.

"It's a disgraceful practice that's outlawed in much of Europe and should be here.

"Unite is fighting for UK workers to be treated with the same decency. We won't stop until the law is changed to protect working people from attack."

A JDE UK spokesperson said: “We look forward to meeting with Unite and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on Friday.

"Our current proposals mean the majority of associates will gain financially and there is compensation for those who are financially impacted.

"We have clear areas of feedback from our associates to discuss on the latest proposals. We hope that we will be able to reach an agreement with Unite so that we can move forward.

“The union has notified us of a 24-hour strike on Saturday 8th May and we are obviously disappointed that some associates might choose to participate, but we respect their right to make their voices heard on the proposals.”