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Biscuit workers strike over bullying and job losses

25 November 2014

Eight hundred members of the GMB union are preparing for more strike action in the run up to Christmas at the Jacobs Biscuits factory in Aintree, Liverpool. The dispute is over imposed changes to terms and conditions of employment and against a management culture of disrespect and bullying in the plant.

In particular, the company – owned by United Biscuits – has unilaterally changed absence management and withdrawn sick pay, is transferring work from Liverpool to Poland and is making demands for people to work over Christmas.

GMB members, who voted 84 per cent in favour of strike action, struck on Sunday 23 November for two days. They aim to get the management to return to negotiations over a satisfactory solution, and more strikes will follow if management needs extra persuasion, starting with a walkout on 3 December.

The Aintree site manufactures the Jacobs Cream Cracker and the Club chocolate biscuit. Previously held by US private equity owners, United Biscuits has recently been purchased by Yildiz, a holding company of the Turkish manufacturer Ulker, in a £2-billion deal, which now makes it the third largest manufacturer of biscuits in the world.

The long serving work-force is not prepared to be subdued. Nor will the GMB tolerate a threatening management culture: “It has to come to an end,” it says.