British and Polish members of the GMB at the Cranswick Country Foods factory near Hull have been involved in three days of industrial action over a proposed 20-30% pay cut by factory owners.
The workers who have a permanent contract have also been subject to an 8 year pay freeze, while inflation has risen by 42%.
The workers went on strike on 29 of August, and again on 6 and 7 of September, before returning to negotiations with management.
Speaking at Hull & District Trades Council one striking worker said: “The bosses are asking us to work twice as fast while cutting our wages by a third. There are 1,200 workers at the factory; about 80 of us have Cranswick contracts, but the rest are agency workers. The agency workers want to come out with us but are frightened that the agency will sack them. The agencies are paid about a tenner by management and take half of that for themselves for doing nothing, they’re a racket. We want agency workers to have the same contract as us.”
Dave Ogelsby, regional GMB officer, added that management had been startled by the show of solidarity from other trade unions who attended the picket of the factory.
Future plans include demonstrations outside of the supermarkets that are supplied by Cranswick, as well as continuing to join the strikers on future picket lines. At the end of the meeting Hull & District Trades collected £400 to help the striking workers continue their dispute.
This strike represents an important step forward in solidarity between British and Eastern European labour.