Big Ben Pies workers set to strike over pay rates

Around 30 workers at Big Ben Pies in Wiri, Auckland will strike tonight and into tomorrow over what they say is unfair pay.

Source: 1 NEWS

The company that runs Big Ben Pies, George Weston Foods, has offered two 2 per cent increases over a 22-month term which FIRST Union says in a statement "is unlikely to even keep the bottom two pay rates in the collective agreement above the minimum wage."

FIRST Union say most of the workers are on just $18-$19 an hour and some have been with the company for 20 or more years.

George Weston Foods manufactures Tip Top, Bürgen and Ploughmans bread, and Golden crumpets. It is one of the two main players in the domestic bread market, the other being Goodman Fielder.

FIRST Union spokesperson Anita Rosentreter says the union is appalled by how low the wages are at George Weston Foods. "These workers have given many, many years of their lives to this company and what do they have to show for it? Not even a living wage! They work hard, in very hot conditions, sometimes for 12 hours a day. They’re trying to support families in Auckland. The company’s offer simply doesn’t cut it."

The strike will start at 6:30pm today and will end at midnight tomorrow.

Employees and supporters will be picketing outside the plant in Wiri from 7am tomorrow.