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Weetabix engineers launch 48-hour strike against bosses’ fire-and-rehire tactics

WEETABIX engineers launched a 48-hour strike today in a battle against bosses’ fire-and-rehire tactics.

Unite members at the breakfast cereal firm’s factories in Burton Latimer and Corby in Northamptonshire risk losing up to £5,000 a year in wages if bosses succeed in sacking them and rehiring them on inferior terms.

Pickets were in action and Unite said the stoppage would cause severe disruption to production.

The union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members at Weetabix will not accept being fired and rehired. 

“Unite will fight to defend our members affected by this disgraceful practice. 

“It is abhorrent that it is legal for companies, like Weetabix, to issue fire-and-rehire ultimatums to their staff.

“This is a totally unjustifiable assault on workers’ wages and conditions. Last year Weetabix’s profits went up by almost 20 per cent to more than £81 million.”

Unite regional secretary for the East Midlands Paresh Patel said: “Weetabix could end this dispute by simply withdrawing the attacks on workers’ pay.

“Strike action will inevitably lead to severe disruption of Weetabix’s products, but this is entirely of the company’s own making.”

Further 48-hour strikes are planned until the end of November.

The company said it would “remain in dialogue” with the union and that it could “avoid any product supply disruption.”

A TUC poll released in January revealed that almost a tenth of workers had been subjected to fire-and-rehire tactics, which are outlawed in some European countries, since March 2020.

Strike action against the practice has been staged by Arriva bus workers in Manchester and by British Gas engineers. 

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