Fight brews at coffee giant Jacob Douwe Egberts

This Saturday, workers at Jacob Douwe Egberts (JDE) in Banbury, Oxfordshire, were scheduled to go on strike for 24 hours. Last Saturday, members of the Unite union started a continuous overtime ban in protest of the coffee company’s plans to fire and rehire 291 workers.

On May Day, over 100 staff and supporters staged a socially-distant demonstration outside the coffee factory. JDE is one of the most recent companies to employ the process of firing employees and rehiring them for lower pay and conditions.

“It’s horrifying,” Unite convenor Chris Moon said. Thousands of pounds are expected to be lost by some of our participants. “I’ve seen representatives cry because they’re afraid they’re going to lose their homes.” Other employees reacted angrily to the bosses’ threats and intimidation.

“We worked so hard in the pandemic, and all we got in return was a couple of quid and a box of stale cakes,” one said. “And then there’s this smack in the face.”

“I’m so proud of our members—been it’s a great turnout,” Chris Moon said of the workers’ reaction to the rally. On the main lane, drivers beeping their horns in solidarity as they passed the demonstration outside the factory made a persistent noise. JDE employees all over Europe have shown incredible unity.

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