Workers in demo over new deal

Unhappy: staff at Advanced Processing with their new contracts
Unhappy: staff at Advanced Processing with their new contracts

WORKERS held a demonstration outside their factory in protest at new contracts.

But Advanced Processing, which employs 110 at Holmfield, Halifax, said more flexibility was vital to secure new business and jobs.

The major issue is the introduction of Saturday rota working.

The company handles millions of fashion garments annually, taking delivery from manufacturers and preparing them for sale at major retailers.

It has won two new major contracts in the new year for Matalan and Sports Direct.

Joint general managers Wayne Aldred and Ben Balfour said the company had to be more flexible to meet customer demands and changing working conditions also affected staff at the company’s other sites at Birstall, Bradford and Corby.

“We are going through a change programme and needed to review contracts and hours of work,” said Mr Aldred.

“New contracts put in Saturday working across the whole business.”

The majority of staff have signed but several in Halifax are reluctant to do so following a 30-day consultation period.

Mr Aldred hoped any outstanding misunderstandings could be sorted and said the company had made linguists available for its multi-ethnic workforce and spoke at length to the GMB union.

“We are trying to create jobs and investing in IT, training and are recruiting,” he said.

“But we need to change to be adaptable to meet what customers want.”

Mr Balfour said: “If we do not put the changes in place it would be detrimental to us.

“The new business strengthens this site and gives us a good future and stability for everybody who works here.”

The business operates a “banked hours” scheme, where staff work longer at peak periods and have time off when quiet.

Workers told the Courier that dozens of staff might leave the business, unhappy at Saturday working, no overtime payments and a heavy workload.

GMB union offical Darran Travis said significant gains had been achieved during the consultation period.

Staff wouldn’t have to work every weekend and the new contracts gave reassurance that where staff are deployed into neighbouring sites they wouldn’t face increased commuting costs.

“The company said it needs business adjustments. Nobody has lost their jobs and I will arrange a meeting with the workforce in New Year.”