Samworth Brothers Takes Advantage of Coronavirus

Samworth Brothers is a huge food manufacturer whose turnover exceeds £1.1 billion a year, whose greedy bosses make a tidy profit by keeping the wages of their workforce down low… down very low. The manufacturer also has a long history of opposing trade unions and of intimidating their own employees (a matter that was documented in this online book – follow link here).

Now with demand for Samworth’s food products slowing down, the exploitative managers at Samworth have been pressurising employees to sign up to new contracts. One by one, key factory workers are literally being frog-marched into management offices, and with no meaningful consultation, are being coerced into signing new contracts with different hours and days of work.

For a start this process has no semblance to democratic norms that we should expect in any workplace, which is why there is widespread public outrage that Samworth should treat our countries key workers with so little respect during this pandemic. But as it turns out, it doesn’t make sense that workers should have to change their hours.

The driver for these contractual changes is the fact that Samworth are reducing weekend production to save money. This approach is the exact opposite of what other “good employers” are doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as the best way of minimising the risk to employees is by spreading work over as much time as possible.

For safety reasons — if factories have to remain open at all — they should stay open for as long as possible. Keeping factories open for their normal operating times, despite reduced output of products, would then allow the speed of the production lines to be substantially slowed down; which would mean that workers would be able to work at least 2m from each other.

Samworth brothers coronavirus

Yet instead of taking such simple actions that would place the lives of workers before the profits of a few, Samworth have only slowed down their production lines by a tiny amount. This places workers in the dangerous position of having to stand shoulder-to-shoulder on many production lines.

This should never be accepted by any key workers. As the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) make clear, if “employers are not complying with the relevant Public Health England guidance (including enabling social distancing where it is practical to do so), HSE will consider a range of actions ranging from providing specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices, including prohibition notices.” Workers should also complain and take collective action via their trade unions.

However, it is apparent that the major contributing factor to the ongoing problems facing workers at Samworth sites stems from the fact that the employer refuses to recognise any trade unions for the purpose of negotiating. Something that must change with immediate effect.

All key workers lives are placed in danger because of the coronavirus pandemic and so to put the lives of their workers first Samworth bosses must immediately start to talk to the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union (BFAWU) to take the necessary measures to safeguard their workers.

At the same time management must move to guarantee all furloughed workers that they will get 100% of their normal pay; and if some key workers are getting pay increases for working during this global emergency then why shouldn’t the same apply to those key workers employed by Samworth!


Join The Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union online today! BFAWU is a campaigning trade union. Its job is to get the best deal for BFAWU members at work and is committed to building a strong organisation in every BFAWU workplace an so help make every workplace safer. Whoever you are, wherever you work: joining BFAWU is the right decision.

  • George Atwall (Full Time Officer) – 07739 326009 –
  • Dimitru Manole {ROMANIAN REPRESENTATIVE} – 07816 210730
  • Florentina Pasisnic {ROMANIAN REPRESENTATIVE} – 07459 868508 –
  • Jit Singh (Full Time Officer) – 07739 326012 –
  • Lukasz Bemka (Full Time Officer) – 07912 760261 –
  • Adrianna Kara {POLISH REPRESENTATIVE} – 07847 610534 –
  • Lyudmila Malu {RUSSIAN AND LATVIAN REPRESENTATIVE} – 07411 127253

One comment

  1. So pertinent now. I’ve shared across my social media There are a raft of employers across Leicester, that are taking advantage of our poor. This ‘spike’ is due to greedy capitalism acted out by greedy capitalists, white and non white, greed is an international phenomenon, who should be monitored, audited, fined and even have their factories /businesses appropriated to ensure all our people are safe. Stephen Bourke.

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