Union demands update on Cambridge jam maker ‘sale’
The Hain Daniels Group, owners of the jam makers at Histon near Cambridge, should ‘come clean’ over its plans, as media speculation mounts about a possible sale to a private equity firm.
The call has come from Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union which represents about 300 workers at the Chivers Way site, as media reports that talks are in motion for a sale to Paris-based PAI Partners.
Unite was today holding a crunch meeting with the management at Histon to ask the firm to reveal details over the sale plans and to seek cast-iron guarantees that terms and conditions will be maintained if the company is sold.
The Cambridgeshire site, which dates back to 1873, produces such iconic brands as Hartley’s jam, Gales Honey, and the Robertson’s and Frank Cooper marmalades.
Unite regional officer Roger Dillion said: “There is a good deal of media speculation that the Hain Daniels Group could be sold to PAI Partners – and there is a great deal of concern from our members that their terms and conditions could be seriously eroded by such a take-over.
“The Histon management has already flagged up that it wants to get rid of redundancy payments beyond the statutory minimum; company sick pay; extra days of holiday; and payments for changes in shift patterns.
“It is clear that the bosses are intent on slimming down costs at the expense of our members in order to make it more financially attractive to a potential buyer.
“At our meeting, we will be demanding that the company comes clean about its sale intentions and will be seeking cast-iron assurances that our members’ terms and conditions, in some cases stretching back between 25 to 30 years, will be maintained if there is a new owner.”
Hain Daniels is the power behind brands including Linda McCartney, Mary Berry desserts and Sun-Pat peanut butter.