A rally to launch ‘Unionise Samworth Brothers’ was held this weekend, a campaign which aims to win union recognition at Samworth Brothers, Leicestershire’s largest private employer.
The rally was held yesterday (Sunday, June 19) at Highfields Community Centre. Ex-Samworth Brothers employee Kumaran Bose was among those who spoke out at the event, which was designed to make steps towards giving workers ‘a fair share of the pie’ at the Melton based food manufacturer.
Mr Bose was dismissed by the company in 2016 for encouraging others to join a trade union. However, this is something which Samworth Brothers strongly dispute, telling the Leicester Times: “As in any organisation of our size, Samworth Brothers colleagues are fully able to join a union if they so wish”.
Despite this, a petition is being circulated with three demands to Samworth Brothers bosses: paying employees a fair living wage, full sick pay and recognition of Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) as its trade union.
Speaking at the rally, Sarah Woolley General Secretary of BFAWU applauded the “bravery” of employees who showed up to support the rally.
“You are key workers who have fed the nation through the pandemic, and you deserve better than low pay, and promises of incredible perks that in no reality are no more than any employer should give”, she told the crowd. “You deserve better than the minimum.
“So go away from today and talk to your colleagues. I know it’s scary. I know you’re worried about what will happen to you when you are back in the workplace and start talking about unionising. But you’ve got to go away and organise and you’ve got to do some of that yourselves. We’ll be there with you every step of the way, but we’ll do it together”, she added.
Samworth Brothers is Leicestershire’s largest employer, employing over 9,000 people across 19 businesses. Its consumer brands include pasty favourite, Ginsters and the well known Soreen malt loaf brand.
Lukasz Bemka, a Regional Organiser for BFAWU said: “As a trade unionist I deal every day with workers who can’t afford to live, who are victimised for speaking up, and who are forced into work while sick in spite of the coronavirus crisis. Samworth Brothers is Leicester’s biggest employer and turns profits in the millions every year. Our message is simple: Samworth Brothers would not be a billion-pound company without our city and its workers who make their sandwiches and pastries. It’s time to give them a fair slice of the pie.”
For more information on the campaign, visit: https://unionisesamworths.co.uk/