Open Letter To Heinz & Unite Wigan Branch


Dear The Prole Star. I am writing in regard to a video posted on the Wigan Today Facebook page, regarding a charitable donation to Africa from HJ Heinz. I would like to share my opinion with your readers... This nothing more than a PR stunt.

Heinz do charitable acts publicly to enhance their reputation. But simultaneous they are forcing temporary​ workers into poverty behind the scenes. I personally think this is a classic case of giving with one hand and taking with the other. Heinz based at Kitt Green Wigan think nothing of using the full potential of their "flexible workforce" with no consideration for the families of workers that are already struggling to survive. Some workers are allocated as little as two shifts a week.

This charitable event is no different than the mafia giving to charity to make themselves look legitimate. In the case of Heinz they attempt to present the company as ethical. They aren't fooling me or any of my colleagues. What is charitable about a company that keeps people on temporary​ contracts for over seventeen years without sick pay, a pension, the prospect of a mortgage or the slightest bit of security.

The precarious lifestyles forced on us workers by companies such as Heinz are not only immoral, the root of psychological issues, but they are motivated by blatant greed. Heinz are nothing more than a penny pinching, family destroying, draconian corporate tyranny. They are trying to pull off a clever public relations stunt, painting a fallacious picture, which stands in stark contrast to the grim reality their workers face.

They've recently cut night term wages by fifty pound wiping out any pay rise we've had in the last five years. The workforce has been cut back year on year out subjecting numerous families to the adversity of state benefits. What a great company Heinz is. Many people in Wigan fail to sympathise with workers at Heinz as they believe we are all paid very well. This is a popular misconception.

Most temporary workers are poorly paid. However Workers with certain agencies are paid the same rate as the ever declining permanent staff. It is a good hourly rate but you don't feel the benefit with low working hours. But what many fail to see is the hourly rate is the result of many industrial disputes​ over the decades. Not the generosity of a so called charitable employer such as Heinz.

Low paid workers at other factories and employers in the Wigan area shouldn't envy this hourly rate, with comments such as "They are on good money anyway" "What are they striking for" which were commonplace at the time of the last Heinz strike. But they should make efforts with the full time staff in there own workplace to unionise and fight for better pay and conditions, just like workers at Heinz have done in years gone by.

Perhaps then we can join each other in solidarity at the picket lines once again. Us Heinz workers must stand together and fight to maintain our wages. We must demand more security and insist that all agency workers are paid the same. We must call for an end to the use of zero hour contracts and the ever increasing agency workforce must now decline. After over a decade many are Heinz factory workers in all but name.

This seems a blatant attempt to weaken our position for collective bargaining. A long term plan to cut wages and boost their profits regardless of the impact on our lives. They think that we the workers have let our guard down. That our only focus of concern is ourselves. This ideal is not only dangerous it's deeply problematic. If we don't act fast the fruits of unity will be taken away.

Now more than ever it is imperative we come together in solidarity to defend our shared interests from their greed. There isn't a chimney puffing smoke to be seen in Wigan. No cotton mills, nor top hats walking by. But the big black smog of corporate capitalism is still here. And perhaps it's just as dirty as ever.

In Solidarity

Worker X