Unite threw down the gauntlet after talks with the management at JD Egberts Kenco adjourned today after the company served notice to dismiss and re-engage its entire workforce at Banbury – before any consultation process had started.
Unite, which has about 300 members at the Ruscote Avenue site that produces Kenco Tassimo and Millicano, pledged to campaign against the decision and take the workers’ case to the company’s most senior executives.
Unite national officer for the food industry Joe Clarke said: “In nearly 30 years of union work I have never encountered such a negative approach from an employer to ignore the established consultation and negotiating procedures. It has come like a bolt out of the blue.
“What is a shame about this dispute is that previously Unite had enjoyed good industrial relations with the firm, but unfortunately the current crop of managers is showing its lack of experience and maturity.
“If the multinational company is having difficulties at Banbury, Unite is prepared to engage constructively to meet the challenges – but what we won’t put up with is strong-arm tactics which unilaterally destroys employment.
“We call on the company to withdraw its ‘sack and reemploy’ diktat and enter into meaningful negotiations.
“Meanwhile, Unite is lobbying for the support of European affiliated trade unions and global trade unions.
“We will not stand by and see our members’ livelihoods destroyed, and the collateral damage to the local Banbury economy and social fabric. The campaign now moves into top gear.”