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So far this year, strikes have been threatened by unions at Weetabix​, British Sugar​ and Hovis​ plants, in addition to JDE’s Banbury facility.

Unite and the management have held three weeks of intensive talks in a bid to resolve the dispute affecting 291 employees at the Ruscote Avenue site. The spat has provoked a rolling programme of industrial action since May, which is currently suspended. JDE had agreed to push back the implementation of ‘fire and rehire’ plans until 13 September​.

The details of the package will remain confidential while it is communicated to Unite’s members this week. Unite would then ballot workers on whether to accept the deal, which should be completed by the end of the first week of August. 

The main components of the package include removal of the management’s controversial ‘hire and fire’ proposal; safeguarding pay and employment conditions; and generous compensation if an employee has to change shifts.

‘Intensive negotiations’

“We have had three weeks of intensive negotiations with the management,” ​said Unite national officer for the food industry Joe Clarke. “We have now hammered out a package safeguarding pay and employment conditions for our members.

“We believe that this is the best deal that can be achieved through negotiations and we will be recommending acceptance to our members.

“I would like to pay heartfelt tribute to our members, their families and the wider Banbury community for the tremendous level of support and solidarity they have demonstrated during the course of this dispute. That support was a major contributor in obtaining the deal we now have and shows what can be achieved if working people stick together in adversity.”

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