Manchester

Heinz staff to stage more strikes at Wigan factory

Heinz factory in Wigan
Image caption About 1,200 staff are employed at the factory

Workers at Heinz baked beans factory in Wigan are to stage two more strikes before the end of the year in their dispute with the company over pay.

Union Unite said about 1,200 of its members will stage a 24-hour walkout from 0600 GMT on Tuesday and again before the end of the month.

The workers went on strike last week after rejecting a two-year pay offer of 3.3% and 3%.

Heinz said it had a meeting planned with Unite on Wednesday.

'Staggering hypocrisy'

Unite national officer Jennie Formby said: "The company is shamefully trying to smear this workforce as grasping for more cash even though, year on year, they have worked extremely hard to deliver whacking great profits for Heinz.

"With Heinz's profit margins extremely healthy at 37%, the workers rightly feel that the company is vastly wealthy and can easily afford to help them meet the spiralling costs of living.

"Heinz's refusal to do so is made worse when they continue to shower rewards on managers and the shareholders.

"The hypocrisy of 15% bonuses for well-paid managers but wage freezes for ordinary workers is staggering."

The union said two million cans were lost from production on the previous strike day.

A spokesman for Heinz said: "Heinz has invited site union representatives to a meeting this Wednesday to enter into constructive discussions regarding the current pay deal on the understanding that there can be no pre-conditions to the meeting.

"We have emphasised that we want these to be meaningful and two-way discussions."

He said the current pay offer was still on the table "for now".

"It remains well above our competitors and average weekly earnings which are increasing by 1.7%," he added.

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