Here's why people are protesting Weetabix at Chichester supermarkets today

Protests against Weetabix’s plans to launch a ‘fire and rehire’ scheme for its factory engineers are being held at a handful of supermarkets in Chichester today.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Weetabix’s disgraceful fire and rehire attacks leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Shoppers will want to know that Weetabix has tainted its good name by attacking our members’ living standards while raking in massive profits.”

Around 80 workers, based at the company’s factories in Kettering and Corby, face changes to their shift and working patterns that would result in some engineers losing as much as £5,000 from their yearly earnings.

Stuart Branch, Group People and IT Director at Weetabix Food Company said: "For 90 years we've maintained a strong and productive relationship with our workforce across Northamptonshire to create a world-leading cereal manufacturing capability.

Protesters outside Co-op today

"We're concerned to see that our reputation is being damaged in service of Unite's national campaign on 'Fire and Rehire', which is irrelevant to the current industrial action at Weetabix.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Weetabix believes it can steamroll a loyal and hardworking staff into accepting worse wages, pensions and conditions by threatening them with the sack. Weetabix’s management must be learning this kind of ‘take it or leave it’ industrial relations from their American owners. Unite won’t accept that.”

"We have repeatedly reassured our team and their union representatives that no individual is at risk of dismissal and re-engagement in this dispute, and that roles exist for all thanks to our ongoing investment in our UK factories.

“The current discussions with our engineering team focus on a request for compensation for a change in shift patterns. As such changes are permitted under their existing contracts and extra payments exceed the terms and conditions of their employment with us, we will not be paying this as it would be unfair to our other employees.

"We are extremely proud of the efforts of our 1,000 strong British workforce, and have paid two additional bonuses over the last year to reflect their hard work throughout the pandemic.”