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Agreement on job security in Heilbronn

11 January 2018 News
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The German foodworkers' union NGG has signed an agreement which secures employment for some 1,000 production and logistics workers at the Knorr factory in Heilbronn through 2020. The existing collective agreement was unilaterally terminated when Unilever announced the relocation of Heilbronn's R&D work to Wageningen in the Netherlands. Under the terms of the agreement redundancies are excluded through the end of 2020; logistics will not be outsourced; and the company commits to investing EUR 10 million over the coming three years. Full-time employees will receive a one-off payment of EUR 950 and wage increases of 2.8% from June 2018 and 2.4% from June 2019.

The union was unable to prevent the transfer to Wageningen but of the 200 formerly employed at Heilbronn, 23 will temporarily remain there and a special "commuter" arrangement was negotiated for workers over 55 which allows them to continue in R&D without having to relocate to the Netherlands.

The NGG has been mobilizing its nationwide Unilever membership in opposition to the cost-cutting measures which were announced following the Kraft Heinz bid, including a protest meeting in Hamburg last year livestreamed to Unilever sites across Germany which was addressed by union leaders and the federal finance minister.