Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, said: “Unite’s members at Weetabix will not accept being fired and rehired. Unite will fight to defend our members affected by this disgraceful practice. It is abhorrent that it is legal for companies, like Weetabix, to issue ‘Fire and Rehire’ ultimatums to their staff.”
The increase in strikes is thought to close production lines, slow down orders and cause major disruptions to Weetabix supply.
Brits reportedly eat an average of 335 Weetabix every year, and as one of the nation’s favourite cereal choices, delays could mean a sad loss to breakfast tables across the country.
But Stuart Branch, group people and IT director at Weetabix Food Company, said the company’s reputation was being unfairly damaged by Unite.
“For 90 years we’ve maintained a strong and productive relationship with our workforce across Northamptonshire to create a world-leading cereal manufacturing capability.
“We’re concerned to see that our reputation is being damaged in service of Unite’s national campaign on “fire and rehire”, which is irrelevant to the current industrial action at Weetabix.
“We have repeatedly reassured our engineering team and their union representatives that no individual is at risk of dismissal, and that roles exist for all thanks to our ongoing investment in our UK factories.
“The current discussions with our team focus on a request for compensation for a change in shift patterns.
“As these changes are permitted under their existing contracts we will not be paying for them as it would be unfair to our other employees.
“We are extremely proud of the efforts of our 1,000-strong British workforce, and have paid two additional bonuses over the last year to reflect their hard work throughout the pandemic.”