Public opinion split over who's to blame for collapse of Wigan Heinz's £140m sauce plan
Opinion is divided over who should carry the can for the collapse of a £140m sauce production deal for Wigan’s Heinz factory.
Company bosses announced last week that they were pulling the plug on a masterplan to bring the manufacture of their famous ketchup and other condiments to the Kitt Green plant because staff had rejected amendments to their terms and conditions.
This despite the Unite union having recommended that the staff accept the deal and told wigantoday that it was not a matter of pay but shift patterns.
Factories in Spain and Poland will now take up the business, while a question mark now hangs over what happens next at Wigan Heinz.
Concerns had been voiced after the “no” vote that the loss of the sauce deal might signal the beginning of the end of Heinz’s presence in Wigan.
And the company has now suggested that “improvements” would be needed if it were to have a future in the town although it does talk of further investments without specifying them.
After wigantoday published the announcement, there was a great deal of opinion voiced by readers, many fearing that the workforce may have shot themselves in the foot, but others praising them for sticking to their principles.
Roger Watson wrote: “If the unions backed the changes but the workforce did not then they have brought the negative consequences on themselves, they could find themselves with no job at all.”
Dave Campbell said: “Own goal again. When will it close? Surely won’t be long before the dole queues in Wigan grow large.”
Linda Moorhouse said: “Hope that they don't look back and regret this the workers.”
And Gordon Graham wrote: “These workers don’t realise how lucky they are with the wages they earn . Their greed could end up with Heinz just cutting losses selling up. They would get a good price for the land from a property company.”
But Allan Tideswell said: “These new work practices only benefit the company employees will only be required to work at the company’s convenience. It's happening allover the country worker's don't be have rights anymore.”
Shaun Glover said: “Unless people know what the changes were they probably shouldn't be quick to judge.”
Shaun Plunkett wrote: “ I worked for heinz for over 10 years as an apprentice, then engineer. One of the best companies to work for.
"It was always north versus south. Then they shut Harlesden and decimated the workforce moving production to Holland. Sold the land. This was known for about two years before the announcement.
“Now the people of Wigan have missed the boat but – and it’s a big but – when a company comes after your terms hard fought and negotiated over many years when is the time to say no?
“It’s always been ‘get it made cheaper elsewhere’.
“As for being knocked for being well: paid sit back and look at how many different shift patterns these people have worked when a new type of trend scheme pattern is introduced earlies, late nights, bank holidays. You can’t argue the fact they are well paid but why shouldn't they?
“They put the hours in.”