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Union warns of action against coffee giant’s fire-and-rehire plan for Banbury plant

“IMMORAL” plans to fire and rehire nearly 300 workers at an Oxford coffee factory could lead to industrial action, the Unite union warned today.

Bosses at the Jacobs Douwe Egberts plant in Banbury have issued notices of dismissal and re-engagement on inferior pay and conditions, despite staff working “flat out” to meet a huge increase in demand during the pandemic, the union said.

The Netherlands-owned company has also angered workers by signalling the replacement of its final-salary pension scheme with an inferior defined-contribution scheme.

Joe Clarke, Unite’s national officer for the food and drink industry, described the company’s decision amid a global pandemic as “immoral.”

He said: “We are launching a campaign, which could include a ballot for industrial action, to fight this attack on our members’ living standards.

“These appalling proposals have been compounded by draconian changes to the pension scheme that will seriously undermine our members’ ability to retire in dignity with a decent income.

“Unite is prepared for constructive talks with the management on the plant’s future, but the threat of ‘fire and rehire’ needs to be taken off the table for such negotiations to take place.”

The company has been asked to comment.


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