Workers in the food industry union BFAWU today enter the second day of their 48-hour strike at Gunstones factory, located just outside Sheffield, following the employer’s decision to force through a pay freeze for staff at the site. The factory employs 1,200 staff and produces over a third of Britain’s hot cross buns.
The BFAWU had initially agreed to delay pay negotiations when the employer announced over 400 redundancies following the loss of a key Marks & Spencer sandwich contract. However, the company refused to offer staff an increase following the redundancy consultation period, citing the overall cost of the redundancies as a reason.
Gunstones is part of the highly profitable 2 Sisters food group, best known for brands such as Fox’s biscuits and Goodfellas pizzas. The company has supply contracts with all of the major supermarkets.
The company is insisting that any pay increase must be ‘self-financing’, meaning that employees at the site must sacrifice existing terms and conditions in order to secure an increase. The BFAWU members see this as unacceptable.
Another factory owned by 2 Sisters in Newport, Gwent, Avana Bakeries, is currently talking to the BFAWU about 390 job losses.