Manchester

Unions at Wigan Heinz factory reject new pay offer

Heinz factory in Wigan
Image caption Strike action at Heinz will now go ahead on Tuesday

Workers at the Heinz factory in Greater Manchester have rejected an improved pay offer from the company.

Unite union members at the Kitt Green site in Wigan were balloted on a pay rise of 3.5% next year.

The union agreed to suspend strike action planned for Tuesday until after the vote - but since the offer was turned down, the walkout will go ahead.

A Heinz spokesman said the firm was "extremely disappointed with the result of the ballot".

Under the new deal, workers would have received a 3.5% rise in the first year plus a £200 one-off payment and a 3.4% increase in the second year.

A further increase for shift workers of between 0.6% and 1.6% was also part of the deal.

'Better deal'

The spokesman added: "The outcome of the ballot is not a vote in support of jobs or future investment in manufacturing at Kitt Green.

"We are committed to the future of Kitt Green and will seek to arrange further meetings with the union to resolve the dispute, but this industrial action will leave many totally perplexed and rewards no-one in the long term."

Unite said 65.4 per cent of Heinz's 1,200-strong workforce voted to reject the offer.

Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for food and drink, said: "Following the result, Heinz management have said they want to enter into conciliation through [conciliation service] ACAS and Unite has agreed to this.

"However, the company is fully aware that the industrial action will continue until we reach a settlement that is acceptable to our members so I hope that when we meet they will be prepared to add some real value to the offer.

"Our members have sent the loudest possible message to Heinz management - we deserve a better deal".

Tuesday's 24-hour walkout will be the fourth day of strike action on this issue.

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