'When workers stick together'

Two-tier workforce ended on Heinz distribution contract in Wigan, with workers securing major pay increases

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Unite has secured an agreement to gain formal recognition and end the two-tier workforce on the Heinz distribution contract in Wigan, resulting in many drivers seeing their earnings increase by over 25 per cent.

The agreement covers 26 drivers employed by distribution company Wincanton on the outsourced Heinz contract.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This demonstrates what can be achieved when workers stick together.”

By ending the two-tier workforce, the drivers on the contract who are currently on so-called ‘second generation contracts’ will see their pay increase by between 25 – 36 per cent.

In addition the workers will receive an additional five days holiday a year and the entire workforce will be entitled to sick pay equivalent to six months full pay and then six months half pay.

Unite regional officer Kenny Rowe said, “So-called second generation contracts and two-tier workforces are a blight on the haulage and distribution industry. It is entirely immoral that workers are paid different rates for the same work.

“Unite is dedicated to repeating its success on the Heinz contract across the UK to ensure that workers are paid a fair rate for the job,” he added.

“Not only have we ended the two–tier workforce on this contract but we have ensured that all the drivers will benefit equally in future negotiations over pay and conditions.”

Employers across the distribution and road haulage industry have increasingly used second and even third generation contracts, where new recruits are on lower pay and poorer conditions than existing drivers, to force down costs and so creating a race to the bottom.

Unite believes the widespread use of so-called ‘second generation contracts’ is a significant factor in the current shortage of HGV drivers.

By Barckley Sumner

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