Huge Northampton food manufacturer furloughs staff as union fights for 100 percent pay

The factory in Moulton Park has already come under scrutiny from employees about its handling of the coronavirus pandemic

By Carly Odell
Saturday, 4th April 2020, 12:00 pm

A food manufacturer in Northampton has made the decision to furlough a number of its staff due to ‘reduction in demand’ as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Greencore, in Moulton Park, is using the Government’s job retention scheme, whereby the Government will pay 80 per cent of a furloughed worker’s wage.

However, a union that has members who work for Greencore, believes the company should not let its employees suffer a pay cut.

Greencore has made the decision to furlough some of its workers. Photo: Google Maps.

George Atwall, regional officer for Bakers Union, said: “The union is asking for 100 percent pay, which is a 20 percent top up on the furlough pay.

“The majority of people who have been furloughed are on minimum wage and shouldn’t be forced to take a pay cut.

“The union wants clear answers.”

The union argues that other food companies such as Allied Bakeries and M&S are pledging to pay their staff in full with M&S even offering bonuses, so Greencore, a profitable company should be doing the same.

In a statement, the company responded to the union’s issues by reiterating its need to use the furlough system, with no mention of the remaining 20 percent of pay.

A spokesman for Greencore said: “We can confirm that we have reluctantly taken the decision to make use of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for a number of our colleagues in light of the short-term disruption and reduction in demand that is being caused by COVID-19.

“This is a decision that was discussed and agreed with union representatives, and we recognise that this is a hugely challenging time for everybody concerned.

“We are doing everything that we can to maintain all of the jobs at our Northampton site, and at this stage do not intend to make any permanent headcount reductions.

“More broadly, Greencore Northampton has an absolutely critical role to play in keeping the UK fed during this period of unprecedented uncertainty.”

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