The Bakery Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), which urged the public to boycott the food manufacturer’s products during a protest outside Marks & Spencer on Humberstone Gate in Leicester on Saturday (30 July), claimed it had seen evidence of a letter given to employees at Samworth’s Kettleby Foods site in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
George Atwall, BFAWU union representative, insisted Samworth was actively encouraging its line managers to coerce workers to sign away their bargaining rights through the distribution of the letter.
“They’re also circulating a petition for workers to sign, which declares to the Central Arbitration Committee [CAC] that they have no interest in joining the union,” Atwall declared.
The Ginsters’ manufacturer became embroiled in controversy earlier this year over the introduction of alleged cuts to pay and conditions in order to address the impact of the National Living Wage (NLW).
A Samworth spokeswoman told British Baker: “We totally refute the allegations. The material presented is totally misleading and full of gross factual inaccuracies.”
The latest spat follows a row between Samworth and the union, after the dismissal of employee Kumaran Bose. The BFAWU claimed he was unfairly sacked after helping to recruit more than 50% of the Kettleby workforce to the union.
The spokewoman added: "The union are required to show that over 50% of employees are in favour of recognition. We have not seen any evidence to date from BFAWU that the union have these levels of support."