Latest rejection, amidst management provocations, confirms how Hovis bosses have once again underestimated their own workforce
Sean McKeever, Regional Officer for Unite reported that a vote conducted at mass, socially-distanced meeting at the Hovis’ Apollo Road site, striking members of both Unite and the Baker’s union voted overwhelmingly to reject as ‘insulting’ the company’s latest pay offer.
“Our unions’ members are now into their ninth day of strike action to achieve pay justice but their determination to secure fair pay is only growing with time.
“The latest management pay offer of 8.4 percent over 30 months was accompanied by a challenge to the unions to put it to our members. So Unite and the Baker’s union organised a mass meeting of all our members outside the company’s Apollo road site and held a paper ballot on the offer.
“The result was an overwhelming rejection with a majority across both unions of 84 percent. The workers also agreed to send a message to management to not come back with any more insulting offers but instead deliver real pay justice.
“Over the past twelve years, Hovis workers in Belfast have witnessed pay increases being outstripped by increases to the National Minimum Wage. These are skilled, experienced workers but that is not reflected in their pay. This is all part of the corporate race to the bottom where workers in Northern Ireland end up at the bottom of the pile.
“Today’s vote came on the back of reports that workers had received text messages from management asking they indicate their availability for shifts in the coming week. Last night workers on the picket reported being goaded by management who came out to tell them that the pay offer would be accepted by the unions. Such insulting behaviour only compounds the workers’ anger and demonstrates yet again that Hovis bosses completely underestimate their own workforce.
“In taking this determined stand for pay justice, these workers have the full support of Unite, our union has a strike fund of £40 million and we are not afraid to use it”, Mr McKeever concluded.