Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/14923
Further action needed against union-busting company, 2 Sisters
Workers at RF Brookes of South Wigston, Leicester, are facing the possibility of closure of their factory in a vindictive act by the '2 Sisters' food group that owns it.
In May they announced 193 redundancies along with the slashing of previously agreed redundancy terms, meaning that workers could have the double whammy of losing their jobs and thousands of pounds in payouts at the same time.
This is not because the bosses of 2 Sisters are struggling. The couple who own the company paid themselves £12 million in bonuses last year alone.
Members of the bakery workers union, BFAWU, took four days of strike action in protest (see reports in the Socialist).
However, the response of management has been to up the ante by increasing the number of redundancies to 350, leaving a workforce of only 150 behind. The workers feel there is a clear plan to close the factory.
One worker said: "The day after the strike we had a letter from management telling us that the strike had no effect and that business was going up, yet a week later we got another one telling us that 'due to recent events' the pizza topping business will be transferred to the Nottingham factory and the number of redundancies was going up."
This is a deliberate union-busting move. 2 Sisters aims to destroy the union agreed pay and conditions at all its factories, for example at Cavaghan and Gray in Carlisle where workers have recently opposed a massive attack on terms and conditions.
The move in Leicester is designed to intimidate workers who are attempting to defend their living standards.
The BFAWU is correctly pursuing legal action. There have also been attempts to put pressure on Marks and Spencer who buy the pizzas from RF Brookes; it claims to be an "ethical company" yet colludes with vicious bosses like these.
However, the Socialist Party believes that futher action is needed to stand up to 2 Sisters, and that to prevent closure the idea of a 'sit in' at the factory should be considered.
We need to call on workers at other factories (often in different unions), such as the one in Nottingham, to refuse to take work from South Wigston in solidarity. If 2 Sisters succeed here they will use the same tactics in every factory.