Strike threat at Allied Bakeries site called off

Threatened strike action by drivers at the Allied Bakeries site in West Bromwich has been called off.

Around 130 drivers, maintenance staff and security personnel at the Kingsmill plant have “overwhelmingly” accepted a revised pay offer from Allied, according to union Unite.

Union members had voted last month to take industrial action in a dispute over pay, with the union describing the company’s offer as “paltry”. Unite had warned that strike action could bring a “bread drought” to the north west and Midlands, although Allied had denied this.

In a statement released today (6 December), Unite lead officer for the food sector Joe Clarke said: “This deal reflects a good outcome, with an overall package that sees the desired improvements to rates of pay that we have been pushing for at Allied Bakeries Kingsmill West Bromwich.”

Adding that the exact terms of the deal would not be disclosed, he said the pay rise, which is being backdated to April 2017, was slightly over 2.5% and included a 2% increase for year two, starting in April 2018.

“This is coupled with a further markets-rate payment adjustment being added to this figure of 0.5% and a further 0.6% payment for a 12-month voluntary arrangement for the working time derogation,” he said.

“The industrial action has now been called off after the workforce voted overwhelmingly to accept the revised offer and our members are working normally.

“I would like to thank our members for the solidarity they have shown, which has brought about this positive outcome, and we look forward to a constructive relationship with the management going forward.”

Allied Bakeries said the deal was in line with that agreed across its other UK sites and was competitive in the local area.

"As part of this two-year agreement we have achieved an improvement in shift pattern flexibility which we believe works well for our employees and the company," added a spokesperson. "Everyone at the West Bromwich bakery is now looking forward to getting back to business as usual.’’

Last month, Allied Bakeries parent company Associated British Foods (ABF) revealed the bakery business sustained a loss in the year ending 16 September, and that it was discussing increasing prices with its retail customers. In September, Allied announced plans to close its Norwich distribution depot.

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