Hundreds of Black Country workers have rejected plans to introduce seven-day working – despite a clear ultimatum that factories could close.
The 2 Sisters food group is facing a revolt by staff over plans to introduce a new seven-day system. Employees at three of the four sites have voted against the plans.
Workers at two sites in Smethwick and another in West Bromwich have thrown out the plan in the face of warnings that factories could close if seven-day working is not agreed.
The only factory to endorse the scheme was a small site in Wolverhampton – and now a total of up to 1,500 workers could face an uncertain future.
2 Sisters had previously denied the group had threatened to close factories.
But a leaked internal group consultation document reveals the firm’s threat.
In the document to staff, 2 Sisters say: “In order for our business to remain sustainable and profitable, we have identified and discussed a proposal with your union (Unite) to try and agree a new shift pattern to achieve a seven-day operation with an any 5 in 7 shift pattern.
“As it stands, should we fail to reach agreement on the proposal, the company will have to consider the closure of two of the four cutting sites.
“The company is proposing to close sites A and C (Smethwick) should there be a failure to agree the new proposed shift pattern.
“In the event that there is a failure to reach agreement during the formal process, formal site closures will commence in June 2013.”
The threat to jobs was underlined after HR1 redundancy forms were issued by the firm relating to all four sites in April and earlier this month.
Unite regional officer Des Quinn said: “HR1 forms have been issued which say that the potential is that all four sites could face redundancies and workplaces closed down.
“The threat is real and we are going to try to work our way through it with the company.”
No one from the company was available for comment.