Support The Day of Solidarity For the Striking Hovis Workers – And Tell Hovis What You Think!

hovis-boyThese days the kid in the Hovis advert would get to the top of the hill only to be told to fuck off home because he’d been laid off and replaced with an agency worker at short notice.  This is an all too common practice amongst grasping employers who use agencies, temporary and zero-hour contracts or even workfare in a bid to undermine the wages and conditions of the people who actually do the work in their companies.

This casualisation of the workplace leads to desperate consequences as workers are laid off without a second thought to increase profits. With social security being demolished and unemployment sky-high, it is more vital than ever that this constant undermining of low paid workers is brought to an end.

One union is taking a stand against the constant erosion of workplace rights  by taking on household name Hovis over their recent contemptible treatment of their staff.  Earlier in the year Hovis made 30 people redundant at their Wigan bakery.  Astonishingly just 48 hours later the company brought in agency staff on zero-hour contracts to replace the sacked workers.

This led to a furious response from the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) who immediately balloted for a strike with resounding success.  The first week long strike began at the end of August and led to Hovis agreeing to stop using zero-hour contracts and employ these workers properly.  The dispute is far from over however with Hovis planning to increase the number of agency workers they exploit.  The Union warns this means zero-hour contracts are likely to be back and simply managed by a third party away from real scrutiny.  A second 7 day strike begins tomorrow (September 11th) at 6am calling and the BFAWU have called for a day of  solidarity.

The Union’s demand is clear: “this issue can be settled by the company agreeing to pay all workers the recognised rates of pay and guaranteeing them the same employment rights.”

According to the BFAWU, Hovis have behaved appallingly throughout the strike with claims that: “they hired local ‘heavies’ to intimidate striking BFAWU members, which is deplorable conduct if proven to be true. In addition to this, the company has apparently refused to allow employees to take part in a charity bike ride in order to raise money for the MacMillan Cancer Support Charity.”

Whilst trade unions bigwigs make bold speeches about a one day general strike that will probably never happen at the TUC conference this week, here is a real fighting union taking proper industrial action to defend the wages and conditions of all workers at Hovis.  They deserve everyone’s support who wants to fight back against the constant erosion of our rights, working conditions and incomes to prop up those making billions at our expense.

Support the strike by telling Hovis what you think from tomorrow Sept 11th and throughout the strike.  Let’s make sure the company knows that it is not just their own workforce who cares about the erosion of real jobs on proper contracts but all of us who buy their over-priced bread as well.  Hovis are on twitter @hovisbakery and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/hovisbakery

And remember only a dirty rotten scab would buy a Hovis loaf of bread whilst this strike is taking place.  Hovis are owned by Premier Foods who make all this stuff as well.

To keep up with the latest news on the strike follow @IanBFAWU on twitter or visit the Union’s website at: http://bfawu.org/

A rally is taking place this Saturday 14th September in Wigan in support of the strike: http://uniteresist.org/2013/09/public-rally-to-back-hovis-strikers-saturday-14-september/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

52 responses to “Support The Day of Solidarity For the Striking Hovis Workers – And Tell Hovis What You Think!

  1. @johnnyvoid thats a bit harsh you’ve just told us this story i never knew..and theres millions of others that wont know about the dispute..so calling them names is pushing it a bit..blimey some families survive on only toast sometimes…maybe leaflet supermarkets about this stuff eh? then let ppl decide..

  2. great free bread and rolls available round the back of my supermarket ..yum yum oi dave sort it out will ya .. yea yea lol

  3. overburdenddonkey

    good call jv, i will certainly support these downtrodden workers, and i will also boycott their products…and i’ll not listen to dvorak neither..

  4. Pingback: Support The Day of Solidarity For the Striking ...

  5. If the unions win that will be Hovis hiking their prices for everything they sell, rather than take it out of their own profits to pay their workforce, which they should be doing in the first place.

  6. Boycotting Premier since I heard about Wigan – a bit lonely here in Hampshire, but made much easier by the fact that so much of they make is so rubbish and so NOT good value for my limited budget. (When did you last find any filling in one of Mr Kipling’s cakes?)

    Seriously, if you have young children and can avoid most Premier Food products, you should probably do so anyway.

  7. Not very often we get good news but i welcomed this. It should make a few jaws drop in parliament, but how do you put right the anguish and suffering of those who have already succumbed to this policy and lost their home as a consequence?

    By Nick Sommerlad

    Bedroom Tax DOES breach human rights and should be scrapped, says the United Nations in landmark decision
    10 Sep 2013 23:59

    UNITED NATIONS special envoy Raquel Rolnik will call on the Con-Dems to scrap the tax, which she believes breaches the basic right to housing.
    United Nations envoy, Raquel Rolnik with the Daily Record dossier United Nations envoy, Raquel Rolnik with the Daily Record dossier
    Garry F McHarg/FOCAL (Scotland)

    DAVID CAMERON’S hated bedroom tax breaches human rights and should be scrapped, a top UN official will demand today.

    Special rapporteur Raquel Rolnik will call on the Con-Dems to scrap their decision to cut benefits to tenants with a spare room. She will say the policy breaches the basic right to housing as there are not enough smaller properties for tenants to move into.

    Rolnik is ready to reveal her findings today after an unprecedented two-week tour of the UK meeting campaigners, bedroom tax victims and officials.

    Ironically, it was the Tory-led Government who gave the Brazilian housing and architecture academic permission to carry out the study – and she is set to deliver a harsh critique of Britain’s housing crisis.

    The Government claim cutting housing benefit for tenants who have a spare room will save £500million a year. Households with an extra bedroom will have to find an extra £14 a week or move into alternative accommodation.

    But critics say the policy will create huge suffering for 660,000 victims and dispute whether it will save money.

    Rolnik has visited London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Manchester over the past fortnight.

    ……………………………………………………………………………

    One thing i am really glad about is the impression that this gives our counterparts, of Britains concerted hate campaign against its poorest.

    The jigsaw pieces are falling nicely into place, letting the world see the true nature of our politics and the division of wealth and chastisement………………………
    Reply

    • The BBC News Channel just had “laughing-boy” Shapps interviewed about this. The Bonehead complained bitterly about this UN inspector posing for photos with lefties, and that the government were not consulted.
      A complaint is going to the UN about the visit, apparently.
      This filthy Tory Libdem government, clearly will listen to nobody, but it IS time that the ICC looked at what is happening here, with a view to prosecuting over crimes against humanity laws.

    • Bedroom Tax. I would just like to point out that there are far more than 660 thousand victims suffering from this mean spirited idiotic policy. It is 660 thousand households. There is generally more than one person to a household. If you double the 660 thousand you may get closer and then some.

  8. There are so many everyday products which make hoycotting hard. But will support Ian and the bakers union. It is appalling and the ‘big guns;’ unions should support them too.
    Pat x

  9. I was made redundant once after two years hard, loyal work for a firm. I was then offered my job back two weeks later on a temporary contract. I wanted to go back but couldn’t because I felt so bitter about it. So many employers don’t have a clue …

    • Another Fine Mess

      If the dwp found out you’d be sanctioned for not going back. If you did go back you’d be sanctioned for not working enough.
      When are the UN visiting again:-)

  10. How can the government even show it’s face after this damning indictment of the way it has treated its poorest tenants?

    How do you begin to compensate a family for the loss of a loved one, taken by this evil policy?

    Who will inevitably, have to fall on their sword as the momentum of the moment gathers pace?

    All these questions must be asked………..and more!

    Heads should roll for this fiasco……………..

    Even if the policy of the bedroom tax is dropped completely, where would one begin in putting right the wrongs that have already driven tenants from their homes?…………….

    They might be controlling the media but people power and common sense prevail.

    No wonder they seek to gag the victims of their policies, surely this will be another blow to the transparency of lobbying bill that they are trying to push through unnoticed, this is also a breach of human rights, the right to reply………………………………
    Reply

  11. Hovis bread tastes like cardboard anyhow (even the geese in the local park won’t eat it, lol!) so boycotting their product isn’t that difficult

  12. We are already boycotting Warburtons for giving money to the Tories – Hovis now added to the list. Choices getting limited but it’s worth it.

  13. Thanks Thomas, I didn’t know about Warburtons, so will add them to my list of products to be boycotted. I am very lucky I having a village baker (they do still exist, and it’s not an “artisan” like in the London “villages”!) so it’s only on products they don’t make (crumpets etc) we will have to look more carefully.

    (As an aside, my parents were involved in boycotting goods from South Africa in the 1950, so it’s almost a reflex actions since then).

    Great post JV, we need to get the message out, while the press is supine and the govt so vicious, we need a cause, and the Baker Union to start the fight is a pretty good start. While calling for a general strike may seem futile nopw, someone has to break the ice with the first call. There will be others, now, and that will get the Bullingdon club crapping itself. It’s a great cause to start linking hunger / bread / workers rights/ etc.

  14. PS In the ’50’s my mum would always search magazines in Dr and dentist waiting rooms and deface all advertisements for the SA products. Might be good to start the tradition again. People always ask about why. Have your answers ready, short & sweet.

  15. ………a few days ago this was the headline from a newspaper;

    Raquel Rolnik, a senior United Nations official, is in the UK at the invitation of the government to examine whether the “bedroom tax” will impact on human rights.

    This morning this was the response from “LITTLE SHIT SHAPPS”

    The Conservative chairman brands Raquel Rolnik an “absolute disgrace”.
    Conservative chairman Grant Shapps speaks at last year’s Conservative conference in Birmingham.

    After the United Nations’ special investigator on housing, Raquel Rolnik, visited the UK and warned that the bedroom tax was having a “shocking” effect on the vulnerable and should be abolished, one might hope that the government would engage with her concerns.

    Rolnik, a former urban planning minister in Brazil, said of the measure, which reduces housing benefit by 14% for those deemed to have one “spare room” and by 25% for those with two or more, “I was very shocked to hear how people really feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis. People in testimonies were crying, saying ‘I have nowhere to go’, ‘I will commit suicide’.”

    ……….strange how attitudes change when someone pisses on their bonfire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. I had a look at the Hovis twitter feed and it served only to make cry at the shit people moan about on Twitter. “Just got 3rd degree burns removing a slice of seed sensation from the toaster and touching a seed @hovisbakery”.

  17. Shaps was just on the news, the UN report was worth it just to hear the poisonous runt’s reaction! Just wonder now what other punishment the condems will dream up for the poorest & most vulnerable after this

  18. Its like we’ve entered a time machine, and we’re rapidly approaching the 30s.

  19. I DON’T LIKE YER BREAD! IT’S CRAP! MADE OUT OF THE DOINGS OF A DONKEY’S BACKSIDE, DRIED AND PUT TOGETHER!! THE ONLY THING WHOLE MEAL IS THE BITE THE DONKEY’S DIGESTION SYSTEM COULD NOT BREAK DOWN.

    Will that do?

    Xxx Aunty Admin
    Granted…..

  20. Hovis bread is choc full of those, oh-so-healthy, E numbers. Well, it was the last time I ate a loaf of their chemicalized wheat product.

  21. DisgruntledHovisdog

    Solidarity Wigan, Anybody that underestimates the shower who run Hovis, just have to look at the recent tribunal judgement against them Re-Hovis Bradford and the treatment of two sacked Bfawu members. Managment lied from start to finish, No Action taken by Hovis against management Liars. Great Company? Run by Bastards

  22. I want to support this action but I don’t use facebook or twitter. It bothers me that I am now expected to subscribe to surveillance organisations in order to engage with democratic activity. It undermines the whole message of these actions.

  23. It is deeply disturbing! For all we know these groups are deliberately set up by the “authorities” with the intent of flushing “dissenters” out of the woodwork. Facebook/Twitter is like an electronic “kettle”… it is like doing the Plods’ job for them!

  24. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-24044458

    Hovis bakery worker’s walkout in Wigan continues
    Hovis factory picket line About sixty workers at the Hovis factory joined the picket line on Wednesday
    Continue reading the main story
    Related Stories

    * Hovis bakery workers go on strike
    * Losses narrow at Hovis bread maker
    * 43 jobs to go as flour mill closes

    Production staff at Wigan’s Hovis bakery have walked out for a second time in a row over contracts and pay.

  25. Hovis said limited use of agency labour was “commonplace” and all zero hours staff had now been made permanent.

    Last week, the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) warned shoppers would see a reduction in bread and crumpets in stores due to the walkout.

    Geoff Atkinson, from the BFAWU, said: “This has always been a locally run site, by the local people. There’s many families that work on this site.

    “If the hours are there, they should be permanent hours and not covered by agency labour.”

    He added: “All our workers on this site took a drop in hours and in money to protect permanent employment on this site, not to protect zero hour contracts and agency labour.”
    ‘Cover seasonal peaks’

    The walkout follows 26 redundancies in April, with a further five expected in October and a reduction in hours allowed from 52 to 40 per week.

    Richard Johnson, from Premier Foods, which owns the Hovis brand, said agency labour was not being used to replace redundancies.

    He said: “We no longer have any zero hours employees at Wigan.

    “What we do reserve the right to do is use agency labour to cover seasonal peaks, holiday and sickness absence in the same way we do at all our other bakeries.

    “Given the loss of volume at the Wigan site, we had to make some redundancies.

    “However, when there’s a short term blip in worker needs we need some flexibility to cover that. When there’s a shortage of labour you have to keep production going.”

  26. Hovis abandons 100% British wheat pledge

    Premier Foods, which makes Hovis bread, is to abandon its pledge to use only British wheat in its loaves.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20969788

  27. If anyone is wondering why that despite the walkout by the downtrodden and abused Hovis workers there are still Hovis loaves aplenty on shop shelves; this is because the “fresh” bread is frozen and stored for three months before being defrosted and put on the shelf. Hovis production would have to be shut down for three months before the last loaf leaves the supermarket shelf. A modern bread production industry does not function like in the quaint picture at the top of this article

  28. Premier Foods, the UK’s leading food producer, has agreed a four-year contract with the Ministry of Justice to supply all publicly run prisons in England and Wales with Hovis and Mother’s Pride bread.

    The deal was concluded following a competitive tendering process and builds on the company’s previous four-year agreement with the Ministry of Justice. Under the agreement, Premier Foods will supply a range of bread products for the preparation of meals.

    Andy Riddle, Director of Sales – Impulse, Wholesale and Foodservice at Premier Foods commented: “We are delighted to have re-gained this contract. This is a significant win for Premier Foods and underlines our commitment to building stronger customer relations with the public sector and demonstrates our understanding of their business needs. Hovis is currently the only brand that uses 100% British wheat in the production of our bread and it is gratifying to hear that this commitment to local farmers played a role in the renewal of the contract.

    “This contract is a testament to the team’s ability to respond to the customer’s changing requirements and we are proud to have this contract for a further four years.”

    The contract has taken immediate effect and will run until 2016

  29. “hovis is currently the only brand that uses 100% british wheat in the production of our bread” / Hovis abandons 100% British wheat pledge
    Premier Foods, which makes Hovis bread, is to abandon its pledge to use only British wheat in its loaves.”

    now that is a contradiction!!

  30. rainbowwarriorlizzie

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