By Joshua Robinson –
Striking Drax canteen workers have been sent threatening messages from their employer Baxter Storey, said Unite on Monday 11th December.
The company sent the predominantly female workforce threatening messages saying they had to fill in a form to say they were on strike or they would lose the legal protections afforded to staff taking industrial action.
The workers, who are the lowest paid at Drax, are under no obligation to carry out Baxter Storey’s demands and will not lose any legal protection by failing to comply. The strikers and Unite view the messages as an intimidation tactic.
The strikes, which are taking place throughout December, led to the cancellation of Christmas dinner at the power station on Tuesday 5th December. Out-of-date sandwiches have also been left in vending machines as the stock has not been replenished or changed.
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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Baxter Storey’s intimidation tactics won’t work. Our members are rock solid – they know Baxter Storey can more than afford to table a reasonable offer. They have Unite’s total backing as they strike for a fair pay rise.”
The strike action, which will lasted until Monday 18th December.
The workers are paid the rate set by the Real Living Wage Foundation. Baxter Storey does not implement the official rate until six months after it has been announced by the foundation, however, leaving workers on poverty wages for half the year.
Baxter Storey claims it cannot negotiate with Unite or increase wages for the workers because Drax determines how much the workers are paid through its contract.
Baxter Storey’s latest financial figures show it had a turnover of £449 million in 2022 and brought in operating profits of £25 million. The company also has net assets of £201 million. Meanwhile, Drax’s underlying profits nearly doubled in 2022, from £398 million to £731 million.
Unite regional officer Chris Rawlinson said: “At the moment, Drax is supporting Baxter Storey in its refusal to negotiate with Unite and its attempts to break the strike. Drax management should know they are at odds with the rest of its workforce who overwhelmingly support the canteen staff. They should also know that the only way Baxter Storey can end this dispute is with a reasonable pay offer. Drax should be telling Baxter Storey to do just that.”