Fox’s strike avoided in 11th hour

STAFF at Fox’s Biscuits have averted a strike in the 11th hour by accepting and improved offer over their terms and conditions.

Factory owners 2 Sisters wrote to employees in June offering a three per cent pay rise in return for signing a new contract with fewer benefits.

The company amended its proposals after union members rejected the original deal and voted to take industrial action.

Members of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) took part in a 24-hour ballot over the new deal, which ended yesterday morning, when the majority voted to accept the new offer.

Had the offer not been accepted, staff would have walked out yesterday evening.

The original proposal included cuts to sick pay, redundancy pay, overtime and bank holiday pay. Now factory bosses are offering an additional pay rise of 2.5 per cent in the second year and a delay of changes to bank holiday pay until 2015. Cuts to sick pay, redundancy pay and overtime remain.

BFAWU branch secretary Helena England said: “This result is a relief for some of our members, but is a disappointment for others. The company has moved things a little bit, and employees are happier with this new proposal.”

A 2 Sisters spokesman said the company was pleased staff at Batley and its sister factory in Kirkham had accepted the new offer.

He said: “Whilst less than 20 per cent of employees at the two sites voted for industrial action, it is essential that none of us potentially harmed the good reputation of Fox’s Biscuits. The biscuits market remains tough but we believe we have committed people, a great brand and fantastic products. Working together, we can put all of our energy into growing our business and delighting our customers and consumers.”