Fighting For Full Sick Pay for Company “which makes M&S sandwiches”

In September local Labour MP Claudia Webbe joined up with the few socialists in Parliament to sponsor an Early Day Motion which congratulated “the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union on its actions in support of its members at the [Northampton] factory and calls on the Government to intervene to require Greencore to provide staff with 100 per cent pay during” any periods of self-isolation.

The motion highlighted the fact that Greencore “makes M&S sandwiches,” which is particularly significant because Marks & Spencer’s like to present themselves as a company that cares about both ethics and their employees. Although this is questionable given the fact that Greencore continues to abuse their workforce (see “Greencore factory: timeline of a coronavirus outbreak shows staff must be listened to,” The Conversation, September 11).

Another co-sponsor of this parliamentary motion was Clive Lewis, a Labour MP who was born in the region and whose first full-time job was at the same site at which Greencore is currently located. Lewis called out the appalling behaviour of both Greencore and M&S for sanctioning the ongoing exploitation of key food workers and recorded a video in which he stated:

“Greencore have treated their workforce disgracefully throughout this pandemic, because when that outbreak first took place they put their workers on Statutory Sick Pay: £95 a week, they are expecting their workers to live on, something that even Tory ministers have admitted it is impossible to live on. Then they relented, but now they are threatening again with the possibility of a second outbreak looming to put them back onto Statutory Sick Pay. These people are key workers, they have worked throughout the pandemic to make sure that we have food on our table. And do you know what, quite frankly I feel disgusted that a company would turn around and treat its workforce like this at this moment when so many people need to do the right thing but feel that they can’t afford to. You shouldn’t be making people choose between going to work and making a living or coming off sick and isolating if they think they have Covid-19.

“Now there is also a bit of family history here because my grandad, my dad, and my mum all worked at Henry Telfers which was the predecessor to Greencore, making sandwiches and other things, in part for Marks & Spencer’s. And do you know what, it was my first ever full-time job at Henry Telfers, where I too helped to make sandwiches as a porter. Now I was in the BFAWU, and my dad was a regional officer in the BFAWU eventually, after he left Henry Telfers; and while Henry Telfers wasn’t perfect I don’t think they would ever have treated their workforce like this.

“My message is clear to Greencore: you need to pull your finger out, treat your workers properly, these key workers who have been there for all of us. And another message is this, to Marks & Spencer: if you haven’t spoken up already, you need to be speaking up as well, because its your sandwiches, and I don’t think the general public are going to be too happy to see that you have been part and parcel of the exploitation of this workforce at this really difficult time.” (September 24, 2020, Twitter)

On a similar theme the Bakers Union criticised the key executive of both Greencore and M&S for being “missing” in action throughout this pandemic placing images of their executives of the side of milk cartons with the following captions:

“Patrick Coveney, Greencore Group plc, Chief Executive Officer – MISSING since workers demand full company sick pay, as at present it is only reserved to managers

“Stuart Machin, M&S, Food Managing Director – MISSING since Greencore Northampton decided not to pay Full Company Sick pay to those impact by Covid-19. Is it ethical that only managers are entitled to this service and ordinary workers are expected to survive on SSP only?”

Join the Bakers Union (BFAWU) – have a voice, take an action and play a part…BFAWU the union – the union for all.

  • Nicolae Macari {Branch Secretary} 07532820151 ☎️
  • George Atwall {Regional Officer} 07739326009 ☎️
  • Andrew Williams {INTERIM BRANCH PRESIDENT} 07425627668☎️
  • Florentina Pasisnic {ROMANIAN REPRESENTATIVE} 07459868508 ☎️

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