Wigan bakers begin second 7 day strike

September 11, 2013 in Appeals, Reports, Strikes

Hundreds of bakers in Wigan, Lancashire, are mounting a second 7-day strike against casualisation and need your support with messages, donations, and on the forthcoming demonstration.

Members of the Bfawu union have been fighting against Hovis management’s attempts to enforce huge pay cuts and make the workforce easy to sack.
The first 7-day strike clearly had a big effect. Trucks were leaving the Hovis plant half-empty and delayed, which will not have impressed the shops and supermarkets which Hovis is meant to be supplying. Round-the-clock pickets demonstrated the workers’ commitment, and as a result management have partially retreated, but this is not enough.
24 workers at the bakery employed by Hovis on zero-hour contracts have now been given full-time permanent contracts. This would not have happened without the strike, and shows how trade union action can defeat zero-hours contracts and create real jobs. Hovis was claiming until very recently that no-one was on a zero-hour contract! This is the same company whose management reportedly called union reps “thick” for pointing out that management intended to use agency staff. These denials and insults were swiftly followed by management using – agency staff!

Clearly Hovis still wants to casualise the workforce, in advance of the annual autumn upturn in business. So the strikes are continuing.

A Bfawu spokesperson explained: “The company plan to widen the use of agency labour on site… [and we are] concerned that this will lead to zero hour contracts merely being supplied by a third party.The workforce at Hovis,Wigan are clear; they do not want to see working people on less pay and no employment rights. They want those they will work alongside to earn the same rates of pay as them. They do not wish to see them relying on state handouts to top up their incomes, nor do they want to see them being unable to take paid holidays or being frightened of raising employment or safety concerns for fear of reprisals and losing work.” 

Strikers have shown their determination to stop this flagrant attack, and need your support.
In the words of the Bfawu: “The dispute at Wigan calls on working people, those on zero hour contracts, agency workers, the unemployed, those that have been forced on to workfare, the sick and the disabled, parents communities and our great Labour Movement to support the principled stand of the workforce at Wigan and to honour and support their picket. This may be a Hovis dispute, but we know this is also a national issue. We hope the actions of the workers at Hovis act as a catalyst for stopping the exploitation of people in the UK.”

Send messages of support via the BFAWU website www.bfawu.org or to geoff.atkinson@bfawu.org·

Send donations to the strike fund payable to BFAWU, to BFAWU No.4 Regional Office, 348 Chester Rd, Cornbrook, Manchester, M16 9EZ

Visit the picket line at Hovis (Premier Foods) Bakery, Cale Lane, Aspull, Wigan, WN2 1HD
Join the demonstration this Saturday 14 September, assembling outside Wetherspoon’s Pub, Market Place, Wigan at 1.30pm, and marching to rally at Whelley Labour Club at around 2.30pm