Job offers that were sent to laid off workers have caused a scandal in Glasgow, after they were offered their old jobs back without explanation.
The 2 Sisters Food Group had initially announced the closure of the “loss-making” Cambuslang poultry processing plant back in April, but now it seems that the doors have remained open.
Redundancy packages offered
A total of 450 jobs were lost when the factory’s closure was announced. With the date of August 31st chosen for the last day of operations, workers had to decide whether to stay on or accept redundancy. However, it seems that 2 Sisters have not stuck to their proposed schedule – and have even started taking on new workers to fill the gaps left by those who left.
Shockingly, they seem to be offering people what are effectively their old jobs back – and to make matters worse, they’re doing it by text message, via agencies who are sourcing the new staff.
Former worker Scott Stevenson, who unloaded lorries at the site, said: “It’s a disgrace. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were taking people back on worse terms. I was made redundant on August 3. I was asked if I wanted to stay on but I declined as the given date of closure was August 31. I have since learned that the factory is still open and I’ve received a message from a recruitment agency asking if I would like to return.”
Back in April, politicians spoke about how devastating the news was for the workforce, particularly with such large numbers being lost for the local area. The Unite union said at the time that they would be seeking legal counsel on alleged breaches of the consultation process.
2 Sisters did offer the workers the chance to keep their jobs – but they would have to move 380 miles away if they wanted them, to work at the Norwich factory. Plenty of the workers who could not make the move ended up having to go back into food recruitment and find a new job.
Failure of the process
Understandably, workers are now very unhappy to hear that things have not gone the way that they were presented during the consultation process. This could potentially trigger further legal issues for 2 Sisters, particularly if they did not represent their plans honestly at the time. With job offer texts going out in early October, it looks like they are way off the timeframe they had suggested.
Stevenson added: “I have heard of workers receiving £2000 bonuses for each month they stay in the factory. I was not offered this incentive. This is a disgrace for the union Unite. They have allowed this to happen. We are very angry about how this has been handled. It’s a scandal.”
With anger being directed to both Unite and the 2 Sisters management team, it’s not clear who is going to get off worse. It had been reported that the factory closed its doors in early September, but with agency notifications now going out, it seems that these reports were only based on statements from the company itself.
This could have serious ramifications, both in a legal sense for the union and consultation process, and in terms of the workers who were laid off. They could each have a claim to further compensation because of the fact that they were made redundant without the proper and full terms and options being made available to them. It looks like legal firms in Glasgow might be having a busy month as a result.