Pay cut for low earners ‘unfair’

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BOSSES at Bakkavor in Spalding will ask its lowest paid workers to take a pay cut, while at the same time offering an increase to supervisors.

The Icelandic food giant is entering into a 90-day consultation on changes to the terms and conditions for 485 of its 1,176-strong hourly paid workforce at its West Marsh Road site.

The Lincolnshire Free Press has seen a copy of the business proposal sent out to staff, which shows that Grade A workers should see a rise from £8.37 an hour to £8.75 while Grade E workers’ rate drops from £7.24 to £6.59.

Grade D staff will see a drop in pay from £7.44 to £6.80 an hour while grades B and C stay the same.

One worker, on Grade E pay, said: “If you have got commitments and you are close to the bread line you are going to end up with no house or mortgage.

“Everybody has worked just as hard – it is not fair, we are low enough paid as it is.

“Leave them the same if you are going to knock us down but you can’t do this.” The worker, who asked not to be named, said they would also lose out in the amount of extra pay they receive for working nights – which is 25 per cent extra of the hourly rate.

The plan will also see many people’s pay grade change – with 76 ‘wraps operatives’ due to drop from grades C to D.

When staff first join Bakkavor they earn 90 per cent of the full wages for six months. That will mean a Grade E worker will earn £5.93 an hour, the minimum wage.

It is thought that at least 117 people will gain from the proposal.

A Bakkavor spokesman said: “The last collective agreement on terms and conditions and working arrangements was made 11 years ago at Bakkavor Spalding.

“For some time now we have recognised that our pay rates are not in line with our peers in the industry and some of our roles need to be restructured to reflect the operational changes we have made to the site over this time.

“In addition, similar to other businesses within the industry, Bakkavor Spalding is trading in a climate governed by commodity price inflation and tighter price margins.

“We must ensure we are competitive to continue as a sustainable business into the future.”

A 90-day consultation with the union and employee representatives begins on Thursday.

The spokesman added: “We recognise that these proposals, if implemented, will be unsettling for those affected at the site. However, the business believes that the proposals outlined above will support the business in delivering its long-term plan for achieving a sustainable future.”