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TORY pasty moguls have been accused of bullying workers who have tried to recruit their colleagues to a union.
Leicestershire-based Samworth Brothers shot to prominence in June after bosses sacked a whistleblower baker who exposed how the company had slashed terms to offset the increased costs of paying the new “national living wage.”
The firm supplies supermarkets with products including Ginster’s Cornish pasties.
Now local MP and shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jonathan Ashworth has accused Samworth Brothers of “harassment and intimidation” of employees organising for the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) at the site.
Reps have alleged that they were bullied as a result of attempting to sign up union members, and have written formal complaints to bosses in line with conciliation rules.
Mr Ashworth told the Star: “The stories of harassment are totally unacceptable and a disgraceful way to treat hardworking loyal members of staff. Samworth Brothers should be encouraging its staff to join a union, not trying to block them.”
Mr Ashworth said he had demanded that chief executive Alex Knight make a commitment “that any harassment or intimidation or victimisation of trade union members by the company’s staff will not be tolerated” at the company.
“I will be working closely with the BFAWU on these matters and will continue to shine a light on these unacceptable anti-union practices,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “We strongly refute any allegations of harassment or victimisation of trade union members at Samworth Brothers.
“We have employees who are union members, that has always been the case, and we would never penalise a member of staff due to their union membership. All employee grievances are dealt with under the correct procedures.”
Samworth Brothers president Sir David Samworth was revealed as a major Tory donor in 1999. He has even made a foray into education under the academies programme — though the Samworth Enterprise Academy was rated inadequate by Ofsted last year.
His son Mark has wined and dined with top Tories, donating £685,000 to the party since 2010.
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