A chicken processing factory that was closed for a month following reports of poor hygiene practises reopened yesterday (November 6), after working with Unite to improve standards.
Bosses at the 2 Sisters Food Group factory in West Bromwich began discussions with the union, after an investigation by the Guardian and ITV News uncovered substandard practises at the site.
The investigation led to the temporary closure of the factory, which prompted 2 Sisters Food Group to engage constructively with the union – something it had previously refused to do.
Unite Food, Drink and Agriculture lead professional officer Joe Clarke said, “Our relationship with 2 Sisters had always been strained, but we’ve had some pretty constructive discussions over the past four to six weeks about getting things back to where they need to be.
“This includes a structured programme of re-training, dignity at work training and on-going discussions about improvements to pay and conditions as well.”
Clarke explained that prior to the crisis the factory was known for poor pay and working conditions.
He said, “The way a workforce is treated and the way a business conducts itself go hand-in-hand.
“Clearly, off the back of this crisis, they’ve had a rethink about how they operate and have decided to engage a bit more constructively with us.”
Following a number of changes to the factory’s operations, retailers Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Aldi have begun accepting orders from the site.
A statement from 2 Sisters said, “We can confirm that following comprehensive retraining sessions with all colleagues during October, we are restarting production at our site D facility in West Bromwich.
“This will be phased over the coming weeks, working closely with our customers in the process.
“We would like to thank our colleagues at the site who have acted with understanding and professionalism during this unsettling period.”