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  1. Published on: 13/11/2017 11:52 AMReported by: roving-eye
    Supermarket customers in the North West and Midlands could face a pre-Christmas ‘bread drought’, if drivers at the Kingsmill bakery in West Bromwich, who deliver 1.5 million loaves each week, go on strike in a pay dispute.

    About 130 drivers, maintenance staff and security personnel, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, are being balloted this week for strike action in a dispute over ‘a paltry pay offer’. The ballot closes on Monday 27 November.

    The Birmingham Road site produces 1.5 million loaves a week, as well as rolls, muffins and toasties, and if there is a strike before Christmas, the regions which will bear the brunt of the 'bread drought will be the east and west Midlands, and the North West.

    Bakery bosses have offered a two per cent pay rise, plus £150 for the year starting April 2017 and the same offer for the year starting April 2018. Kingsmill is owned by the highly profitable ABF Grain Products Ltd.

    Unite is highlighting the fact that Kingsmill drivers earn between £26,000 and £28,000-a-year, while drivers employed by Sainsbury’s are on £42,000 and those working for Culina take home £33,000.

    The union has also identified that drivers at the company’s Stockport depot earn £1,500-a-year more than those at West Bromwich, throwing up serious ‘equal pay’ issues.

    Unite lead officer for the food sector Joe Clarke said: “What we have here is a highly profitable global company paying our Kingsmill members well below what competitors are paying their drivers for the same work.

    “In some cases, the differential is as much as £14,000-a-year which is totally unacceptable.

    “Then it has the nerve to add insult to injury by offering a paltry pay deal far below the current rate of inflation. Our members want a fair offer that reflects the cost of living.

    “A strike could cause havoc to bread deliveries to supermarkets, such as Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, across the North West and the Midlands, as 1.5 million loaves a week won’t be delivered.

    “Customers of major supermarkets in these regions seeking bread and other bakery products in the run-up to Christmas could be faced with bread shortages.

    “So you will have a situation where loaves will be coming off the production lines, but no one will be delivering them.

    “There will be ‘bread mountains’ at the West Bromwich depot, but a ‘bread drought’ across great swathes of England.”
     

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    Your Comments:


  3. ausard2 says:13/11/2017 12:28 PM
    Please you're driving a lorry, let's not go ott over this. It's frustrating from the traffic
    situation but you are paid handsomely. The lads and lassies who work in shops ,
    restaurants, hotels , nursing homes also do a 35/40 hour week and dream of £18,000
    a year plus perks.
    As for pay differences, a pint of guinness in London is in excess of £6 .Southport
    £3.20. You can't pay the same rates across the UK.
    Always remember where we may end up without bread , I don't have issues but
    your members could end up without jobs.
    Merry Christmas.

  4. cotton man says:13/11/2017 02:04 PM
    I remember a bread strike in the 70s, when it was over Mothers Pride bakery on Long Lane Aintree closed and so did others giving the business to instore bakeries in supermarkets and private shops.

  5. Alikado says:13/11/2017 02:08 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by ausard2 View Post
    Please your driving a lorry ,lets not go ott over this. Its frustrating from the traffic
    situation but you are paid handsomely. The lads and lassies who work in shops ,
    restaurants, hotels , nursing homes also do a 35/40 hour week and dream of £18,000
    a year plus perks.
    As for pay differences, a pint of guinness in London is in excess of £6 .Southport
    £3.20. You can't pay the same rates across the UK.

    Always remember where we may end up without bread , I don't have issues but
    your members could end up without jobs.
    Merry Christmas.
    They're not talking about London rates it's the difference between Stockport & West Bromwich.

  6. birdbath says:13/11/2017 07:31 PM
    Let us eat cake.

  7. cotton man says:13/11/2017 08:39 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by birdbath View Post
    Let us eat cake.
    Yummy I prefer cake any time.

  8. marky says:13/11/2017 10:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by cotton man View Post
    I remember a bread strike in the 70s, when it was over Mothers Pride bakery on Long Lane Aintree closed and so did others giving the business to instore bakeries in supermarkets and private shops.

    I remember it too. I used to wonder whether my Dad's wagon would get it's windscreen bricked or he'd be dragged out of the cab. Why? Because he had to try & get flour into bakeries, along with all the other tanker drivers he worked with.

    It got to a point during the strike where Allied Mills drivers (TGWU members) were taking loaded tankers to within a pre-agreed distance of the bakeries, then non-union drivers would take them onto site while escorted by Police where they would discharge the flour. The tankers were then taken back to the meet-up point, where the Allied drivers would bring them back to the mill and the process was repeated on the next shift.

    This came about because the Allied drivers were 'branched' by the local union committee and risked being blacked in Liverpool. One incident sparked this process and it happened at Scott's bakery at Netherton. The driver concerned (now sadly no longer with us) was told to move through the picketing bakers by the Police, and in so doing was almost dragged from the moving wagon by one of them.

    Once news of this spread through the TGWU across the UK, similar incidents occurred at Sharrocks in Stockport, Embrey's at Newcastle Under Lyme and (ironically) Bradfords at West Brom - the very bakery mentioned in the report at the top of the thread.

    As for the claims of potential risk to distribution due to the dispute, it's been hyped out of all proportion. ABF have a very fluid operation in the UK and West Brom is no more crucial to the supply chain than any other bakery in the setup. Bread will always be made available, even if it means double-trunking it from bakeries further afield. It happens all the time when there are spikes in demand. I strongly suspect the workforce at West Brom will soon be looking for work if they rock the boat and go on strike. ABF did it at Netherton when they shut Scotts & left the hotplate open - the only part of the plant which made any proper profit, and which is still open today.

  9. gsgsgs says:13/11/2017 10:34 PM
    There will hardly be a drought, supermarkets bake own brand bread on site, local bakers will be rubbing their hands together, literally baking more bread.


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