New deal averts depot walk-out

Heinz, Kitt Green
Heinz, Kitt Green

A FOUR-DAY strike by Wigan’s Heinz beans distributors was called off at the 11th hour.

Staff were set to stage a four-day walk-out over pay at the vast Wincanton depot at Martland Park this week.

But as the appointed hour arrived there was no sign of a picket line.

And it has now emerged that last minute talks averted the industrial action after the United Road Transport Union accepted a revised offer.

The strike was to have involved 60 workers in the Fourmarts Road centre’s Re Pack department. Then, depending on further negotiations, three more weeks of disruptive action could have followed.

There had been a year-long dispute between management and staff there, with the URTU complaining that the company had not increased its pay offer from national minimum wage rate of £6.31.

It had been pressing since last June to have it increased in line with the Living wage figure which is now £7.65.

Brian Hart, national officer at URTU, said: “The company made a fresh proposal to our members, we held an emergency meeting and the offer was unanimously accepted. We therefore withdrew the proposal for strike action.”

The settlement has not been disclosed.

A Wincanton spokesman said: “We are pleased to confirm that the proposed strike by 60 employees from our packaging team at the Wigan distribution centre operated on behalf of Heinz has been called off.

“This follows a meeting with our employees and their representatives URTU when we were able to jointly resolve outstanding issues. As a major employer in the Wigan area with more than 340 Wincanton employees, our ultimate goal is to ensure long-term job security for our colleagues through remaining competitive in our industry and always delivering excellent customer service.”