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Strikes at Weetabix plants will lead to shortages, says Unite the union

Strikes at two popular breakfast cereal plants will lead to shortages.

Trade union Unite said the strikes would cause widespread delay to production and lead to shortages of Weetabix.

It will also lead to shortages of other popular items including Alpen, Weetos and Oatibix.

Cereal stock. (51034507)
Cereal stock. (51034507)

Union members who work as engineers will walk out for 48 hours on September 21, followed by strikes on the same day every week throughout the autumn until November 30.

Unite said the industrial action was being carried out in opposition to the company's plans to fire and rehire them on vastly inferior contracts, in what it described as a wage grab which would leave some £5,000 a year worse off.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "The idea of 'fire and rehire' is abhorrent to me.

"If Weetabix decide to go down this route and they overstep the line then I will absolutely defend our members."

A spokesman from the Weetabix Food Company said: “To continue meeting the expectations of our customers and consumers, it’s important that our ways of working evolve. As a business, we continue to invest in our people, plants, and products.

“We’re naturally disappointed by the result of the Unite ballot, but respect the voice of our workforce and their representatives. Our success over nearly 90 years has been built on a strong relationship with our workforce. We will remain in dialogue with them and are confident that we can avoid any product supply disruption while we implement the new ways of working necessary to keep us competitive.

"It is unfair and inaccurate to compare this with other disputes that require new contracts to be signed or face dismissal, this is not a choice we're considering at present."

Strike action was originally scheduled for June. However, this was postponed due to talks with the company.

Alternative plans were put to workers off the back of the talks, but were rejected in a ballot.

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