Union members at Fox’s Biscuits’ plants in Kirkham, Lancashire, and Batley, Yorkshire, are being balloted for strike action after rejecting a third pay deal.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) will ballot around 400 of its members by post between 17 September and 1 October on industrial action over what it says are unacceptable proposals from Fox’s parent company, the 2 Sisters Food Group, to change workers’ terms and conditions as part of a 3% pay offer.

The company’s latest offer proposes changes to the workers’ redundancy package and cutting double pay on Sundays and is the third one on the table, all of which have been rejected by the union.

The original offer was only rejected by a majority of three votes in a workplace ballot, with the union at Kirkham actually recommending the deal to its members, said 2 Sisters.

A spokesman for the company said: “We still believe our pay offer of 3% is an attractive one in the current climate and while we’re disappointed that our proposals on pay and conditions have been rejected, we note the significant numbers voting to accept the offer in line with the union recommendation to accept.”

Geoff Atkinson, BFAWU regional organising secretary, said: “We are always open to meaningful dialogue, but not if companies are just paying lip service, while trying to steal our hard-won terms and conditions.”
2 Sisters said the changes were essential for the sites to remain competitive and viable in the future in what it described as a “tough” biscuits market.

Workers at Fox’s other factory in Uttoxeter, who are part of the unite Union, accepted a pay deal earlier this year, said the 2 Sisters spokesman.

The 2 Sisters Food Group reported profits of £17.3m for the 13 weeks to 28 April, 2012.