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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Cavray staff accept conditions changes

Workers at Cavaghan & Gray in Carlisle have accepted changes to their terms and conditions.

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Vote: Cavaghan & Gray on Brunel Way, Carlisle

Parent company 2 Sisters Food Group asked staff at the ready-meals factory, a major supplier to Marks & Spencer, to accept changes designed to reduce costs.

They twice rejected the proposals in ballots, prompting the company to start a 90-day consultation on proposals to impose new contracts.

But following further negotiations with the union Usdaw, 2 Sisters says that 81 per cent agreed to the changes in a third ballot held on Wednesday.

It is understood that 2 Sisters has dropped plans to cut redundancy payments but its other proposals stand.

These affect sick pay, overtime and bank holiday payments, and restrict paid time off for hospital appointments.

The company is also scrapping a good-attendance bonus and an ill-health termination agreement, streamlining the grievance procedure and moving weekly-paid staff to monthly salaries.

A spokeswoman for 2 Sisters said: “As the company’s proposals have been accepted the period of 90 days’ consultation, which commenced on June 26, will cease with effect from August 29. We would like to thank all those who voted.”

Jayne Shotton, Usdaw area organiser, said: “The company and the employee representatives worked together to achieve a mutually-beneficial solution during the consultation process on site”.

Not all the workers are happy with the outcome.

One long-standing employee, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation by bosses, accused the company of intimidation and bullying.

She said: “It’s disgusting what they’ve done to us.

“Usdaw should be ashamed of themselves. What we’ve been offered now is the same as what they offered in the first place. The only thing different is the enhanced redundancy terms.

“These are rights and benefits we’ve earned through loyalty and staying with the company.

“If anything, we should be getting more benefits, not losing what we’ve got.”

Carlisle City Council passed a resolution in July calling on 2 Sisters and Usdaw to “negotiate in good faith to achieve a mutually-agreed and reasonable settlement”.

MP John Stevenson was also involved in efforts to reach a settlement.

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