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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Hovis workers make toast of 0 hours contracts dispute

Much solidarity and congratulations must go to the workers and members of the BFAWU over at Hovis in Wigan who could well have set a new stage in fighting 0 hour contracts potentially in the UK. A historic win in many ways is coming to an end today and this sis something we should all be shouting about I feel. With few victories about right now for workers its worth making the most of all that we do get and show to other workers look you can win if you fightback. From The excellent Union news Uk website: More than 400 bakery workers have voted overwhelmingly to end two weeks of strike action in a protracted dispute over zero hours contracts at the Hovis bakery in Wigan. Under a settlement which was put to the workforce on Saturday (21 September), agency employees who work 39 hours per week for 12 consecutive weeks will be moved to parity pay. BFAWU said the strikes had been triggered after the company broke an agreement designed to limit the number of agency workers at the Lancashire bakery, so that people were only employed on “zero hours” contracts in absolute emergencies. Following talks last week, the company has now agreed that future production will be covered from overtime and “banked hours” by members of the full-time 400-strong workforce. Union reps say the increasingly confident wave of strikes had secured “everything we were looking for”. However, negotiators have insisted that the local management of Premier Foods, which owns the Hovis brand, must put the new agreement to them in writing before they formally call off further strike action. BFAWU regional organising secretary, Pauline Nazir, told UnionNews: “The sense of solidarity among the workers has been absolutely brilliant. “It makes you see why you’re a member of a trade union and why our parents told us to join a union.” The second of the two week-long stoppages had seen scores of strikers and supporters blockading one of the gates at the Wigan site. They prevented up to 80% of scheduled delivery lorries from leaving the bakery. Strike organisers said those lorries which did leave were so heavily delayed that they would have failed to meet their delivery deadlines for stores in the Midlands and North Wales. Drivers based at the Wigan bakery had refused to run the gauntlet of noisy, but largely good-natured pickets with the Hovis-liveried lorries on health and safety grounds. Some workers at the Wigan bakery had been on zero hours contracts for up to 3 years before they were given full-time posts, only to find they were doing the same job as they had been doing previously on a temporary contract. The local Labour MP, Lisa Nandy, had told the company the dispute gave Premier Foods an opportunity to reach a settlement which could “demonstrate to the whole country that people do not have to put up with terms and conditions that blight lives and blight whole communities”. Geoff Atkinson, BFAWU’s lead official in the dispute said the commitment from the company over agency staff “also has the potential to create jobs in the local area”. News of the settlement came less than 48 hours before workers at the Wigan bakery were due to begin a third week of strikes. With thanks and credits to Union news Uk at http://union-news.co.uk/2013/09/hovis-workers-win-zero-hours-contracts-toast/

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