Areas in production and processing hit by 24-hour strike at JDE


“we’ll keep our resolve and move forward with this dispute until we get traction”

The first 24-hour strike in the on-going “fire and rehire” dispute at JDE has taken place with claims that over 100 tonnes of coffee production has been lost since action began on May 1.

Despite the poor weather, a large group of workers from the Ruscote Avenue coffee factory gathered outside JDE’s gates for a second Saturday.   Once again the demonstration received wide support from passing traffic.

The one-day strike followed the failure of Friday’s crunch talks between the Unite Union and JDE’s management.

Joe Clarke, Unite’s national officer for the food and drink industry told Banbury FM: “We gave the company a proposal which was for us to de-escalate the dispute and for them to remove the section 188.   That didn’t land with the company.   They proposed dialogue in relation to their proposal.   We acknowledged them and said we would negotiate, but they only want to consult and they won’t remove the threat of dismissal for 300 of these workers.”

Chris Moon, full time convenor at the factory and Joe Clarke, Unite’s national officer for the food and drink industry

Unite union members implemented an overtime ban as the dispute escalated.   That began last weekend and Mr Clarke thinks the action taken so far is having an effect on JDE.   He said: “We understand that up to now they may have lost between 60-100 tonnes of coffee over the past week, not including today where they’ll lose another 40 tonnes.   So over the next few weeks we’re expecting probably 300 or 400 tonnes of coffee lost.

“We don’t want to be doing this.   We don’t want to be in the position we are but we’ll keep our resolve and move forward with this dispute until we get traction.”

A spokesperson for JDE told Banbury FM they were unable to discuss specific figures around production due to confidentiality.    They said the factory had been operational during the 24 hour strike, although some areas involved in production and processing were not running.

JDE said they hoped they could reach an agreement that benefits both their associates and the business but were confident they could continue to supply their products.

In the rain a large group of protestors stood alongside a busy Ruscote Avenue.   Chris Moon, full-time convenor at JDE was delighted with the support the demonstration was receiving.   Mr Moon said: “I was here at 6 o’clock this morning and there were people coming by then tooting their horns and showing support.    Its absolutely amazing.   I think we’ve got a bigger turnout than last week.”

Mr Moon also praised support JDE’s workers were receiving from the Unite Union.

Meanwhile JDE’s Banbury Plant Director Rob Williams expressed his disappointment that Friday’s talks had not made any progress.   Mr Williams said: “It is a shame for our associates that the union were not prepared to discuss the latest proposals at the Acas meeting yesterday. We came to that meeting with an increased offer and we remain ready to negotiate at any point.

 “We fully understand that change is difficult which is why we think it is important to provide clarity to our associates about next steps. It is, as it has always been, our intention to work with Unite and our associates but this is difficult when the union will not discuss the terms of the proposals. We strongly believe we need to make these changes to secure a future for the Banbury factory.

 “The union notified us of a 24-hour strike today (Saturday 8th May)  and we are obviously disappointed that some associates have chosen to participate in industrial action but respect their right to do so. Our priority today, as it is every day, is to keep the factory operating in a way that protects everyone’s health and safety.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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