Chicken plant asks them back – on less wages

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Jonathan Ged­des

Work­ers who were re­cently made re­dun­dant at Cam­bus­lang’s 2 Sis­ters fac­tory have been asked back to do shifts at the plant – on LESS pay.

The chicken plant was orig­i­nally sup­posed to close at the end of Au­gust, with the loss of more than 400 jobs.

How­ever, is­sues with the com­pany’s plant down south prompted an on­go­ing post­pone­ment of the clo­sure, with a num­ber of work­ers of­fered ex­tra cash to stay on be­yond Au­gust.

Now it has emerged the post­pone­ment could con­tinue un­til the end of the year – and for­mer em­ploy­ees were shocked af­ter re­ceiv­ing text mes­sages ask­ing if they would re­turn to do shifts.

Text mes­sages seen by the Re­former of­fer £7.83 as the rate of pay, plus a bonus of £500 for a month’s work. The work­ers orig­i­nally kept on are earn­ing £10 as the hourly rate of pay – and bonuses as high as £2000 in some cases.

One for­mer em­ployee, who dealt with de­liv­er­ies at the site, said: “I was made re­dun­dant at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust.

“I was asked if I wanted to stay on but I de­clined as the given date of clo­sure was Au­gust 31. I have since learned that the fac­tory is still open and I’ve re­ceived a mes­sage from a re­cruit­ment agency ask­ing if I would like to re­turn.”

Ruther­glen’s MP has la­belled the sit­u­a­tion a “com­plete sham­bles”, while work­ers union UNITE slated the plant’s own­ers for their “shabby” ac­tions.

Linda Pol­lock-Wil­son, the trade union’s re­gional in­dus­trial of­fi­cer, said: “The em­ploy­ers ap­proach to the clo­sure of this site has been every bit as sham­bolic as it was disin­gen­u­ous dur­ing the con­sul­ta­tion process.

“The con­sul­ta­tion was a sham from

start to fin­ish, with the de­ci­sion to close the site hav­ing been made by the em­ployer long be­fore the con­sul­ta­tion process be­gan.

“To add in­sult to in­jury, the 2 Sis­ters Food Group of­fered some em­ploy­ees the op­por­tu­nity to stay on be­yond the in­tended clo­sure date for a sub­stan­tial ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive.

“We now find that some em­ploy­ees who have left the site have not only been de­nied that op­por­tu­nity to earn ex­tra money but are now be­ing con­tacted by text and asked to come back as agency work­ers – on in­fe­rior terms and con­di­tions.

“For the record, this has all been done with­out Unite’s knowl­edge, which is why we’re seek­ing pro­tec­tive awards on be­half of our mem­bers as com­pen­sa­tion for the shabby way in which their loyal ser­vice to the em­ployer has been re­warded.”

Ged Killen MP said:“This is a com­plete sham­bles that could have been avoided if the con­cerns raised by Unite the Union and work­ers at 2 Sis­ters had been lis­tened to.

“The site and equip­ment in Cam­bus­lang may have been out of date, but the work­force was highly skilled and con­cerns about the ca­pac­ity of other fac­to­ries to meet the de­mands of the ex­ist­ing con­tract were raised re­peat­edly.

“We’re now in a sit­u­a­tion where dif­fer­ent work­ers have left 2 Sis­ters un­der dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances.

“Some left on or prior to the orig­i­nal clo­sure date, oth­ers were of­fered in­cen­tives to work on for longer, and some have been in­vited back un­der agency con­tracts with dif­fer­ent pay and con­di­tions.

“In their haste to get this fac­tory closed, 2 Sis­ters have failed to pay due at­ten­tion to the con­cerns of their most im­por­tant as­set, the em­ploy­ees.

“We should have a com­mit­ment from 2 Sis­ters that any for­mer em­ployee in­vited back as agency staff will be of­fered the same pay and con­di­tions or bet­ter.”

2 Sis­ters did not re­spond to re­quests to com­ment,

Ear­lier this year, 2 Sis­ters bosses told Cam­bus­lang work­ers the only way to keep their jobs was to be re­de­ployed to Nor­wich – 380 miles away. The fac­tory doors were sup­posed to close in Septem­ber.

In their haste to get the fac­tory closed, 2 Sis­ters failed to pay at­ten­tion to their most im­por­tant as­set, the em­ploy­ees Ged Killen, MP

Shut­ting up shop 2 Sis­ters plant was ear­marked for clo­sure in Septem­ber

Sham­bles Ged Killen MP blasted process

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