Bakkavor has said it was “naturally disappointed” that 600 GMB members are to be balloted for strike action, in a dispute over pay.
GMB claims its members have tolerated below inflation increases in pay for the last four years, while ensuring that the business thrived and continued to make a profit.
The 600 GMB members are part of Bakkavor Pizza in Park Royal.
Commenting on the development, a spokesperson for the food manufacturer said: “We are naturally disappointed that our recent increased pay offers have been declined. In view of current difficult trading conditions and compared to wider food industry settlements, we believe that they represented a full and fair package and were the best which we were able to make.
“We continue to encourage further dialogue among all parties involved to ensure an agreement can be reached and any industrial action avoided.”
Last November, GMB members rejected a 2.5% increase on the basic rate and shift premiums, and £60.00 Christmas bonus in a consultative ballot.
At negotiations held on 8 January 2014, Bakkavor offered a £10.00 voucher for staff to use in the company shop.
Tony Warr, senior organiser, said that the offer would be “considered as an insult” by GMB members.
Warr added that the workforce was “not prepared to accept such a derisory improvement”, and that the industrial action ballot would commence very shortly.
“The terms of reference for the ACAS meeting have clearly been overlooked,” he said. “GMB had agreed to sit down with Bakkavor management and put on hold the strike action ballot, on the basis that any improvement would be significant.”
Bakkavor has contracts to supply ready meals and pizza to Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.
The result of the ballot will be known on Wednesday 29 January 2014.