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STRIKERS 'AXED BY POST' CLAIM.

WORKERS at a Black Country factory who downed tools for a wildcat strike over alleged racial abuse have been sacked by post, it was claimed last night.

Around 60 staff at Smethwick-based 2 Sisters Food Group had been suspended following the industrial action on September 2. Unions said the protests were sparked by the company's slow response to an alleged racist incident involving a security guard employed by a third-party contractor.

They claimed a senior shop steward was suspended for complaining during work time to management about being racially abused by the guard.

But today 55 staff who protested are out of work having been told by mail yesterday their strike, which hadn't been sanctioned by Unite, was "unconstitutional," said union official Joe Clarke.

"They were dismissed by post," he said. "The letters said they had been sacked because the strike was 'unconstitutional action,' but there's been no proper hearing, process or anything - they've just been dismissed."

Mr Clarke added that sacked workers were due to meet at Unite's Birmingham HQ tomorrow to discuss their next move.

Nobody from 2 Sisters, which supplies chicken products to major names such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer, was immediately available for comment.

However, the company claimed last month it had launched disciplinary proceedings against its staff who took part in the strike.

In a statement last month, the firm said: "It is very sad and worrying that Unite and a small minority of employees are seeking publicity by promoting these ridiculous allegations."
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Oct 4, 2009
Words:249
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