Industrial unrest has struck at one of Moray’s flagship businesses with some staff claiming they are being “bullied” into accepting new working conditions.
The dispute at the Baxters plant in Fochabers saw several staff walk out in protest last week while crunch talks were held yesterday in an attempt to avoid further dispute.
A spokesman for the company has said that consultations with staff over changes to shift rotations was continuing – but staff are understood to be angered that under the proposals some workers would lose their current shift allowance.
Workers from the soup production section staged a three-hour walkout on Friday with an unnamed member of staff claiming that they had been “bullied into accepting new working conditions”.
The staff member told the Press and Journal newspaper: “A couple of weeks ago they were told that after Christmas their pay grades are going to change and they are going to lose their shift allowance.
“Workers at grade five are going to fall to grade two, which will mean a loss of about £60-£80 a month. There will only be two shift patterns, 6am-2pm and 2pm-10pm and there will be no shift allowance.”
Staff are reported to have been informed that they will be given 12 weeks notice before the changes kick in after the Festive holiday.
A spokesman for Baxters confirmed that talks were taking place, saying: “A consultation period is currently ongoing over staff members and shift rotation.
“This process will be completed within the next couple of weeks which will result in an increase of money for some staff and not others.”
Baxters employ over 1000 workers and from its humble roots has grown into a global brand with sites in Glasgow and Colchester as well as overseas in Poland, Canada and Australia.
The company website boasts of being “fussy about the people we employ”, adding: “It goes without saying that we need people who share our passion for it and ‘aspire to be different and better,’ an ethos inspired by George Baxter way back in 1868.”