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Workers strike at Hovis plant over zero-hours contracts

Workers strike at Hovis plant over zero-hours contracts

Over 200 members of production staff at Wigan's Hovis bakery have begun a week-long strike as a result of the ongoing row over the introduction of zero contracts at the plant.

Members of staff voted in favour of industrial action due to the increasing use of agency staff, as well as a reduction in hours.

Hovis has maintained that its use of agency labour is nothing out of the ordinary and that it has not acted inappropriately.

The walkout also follows 26 redundancies made in April, with a further five expected to follow in October. Workers' hours have also been cut from 52 to 40 per week.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) said the strike was likely to lead to a reduction in the amount of bread and crumpets being sold on supermarket shelves.

Hovis, which is owned by Premier Foods, has responded by stating that it will attempt to continue to supply products using its bakery network in an attempt to avoid disruption to customers.

A spokesman for Premier Foods, said: "We are disappointed that we have not been able to resolve the dispute and will continue to search for a satisfactory outcome.

"The limited use of agency labour to cover seasonal peaks, holiday and sickness absence is an integral part of our operational flexibility that is understood and accepted by all our other sites."

He also added that it was never the intention of the company to replace full-time members of staff with agency labour at the bakery.

The rising use of zero-hour contracts has ignited a lot of debate in recent months, with companies outside of the food sector drawing much attention from both the government and the certain charities for implementing such an approach.

The Work Foundation has so far condemned government plans for a review of the controversial employment terms, and has called for a wider investigation, claiming that one in five workers in the hospitality sector are currently being employed under such terms.


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