Tate & Lyle locks out US workers

Click to follow
TATE & LYLE, the sugar and artificial sweetener company, has locked out 750 workers from one of its US factories because disgruntled employees have disrupted production.

Management and trade unions at Decatur in Illinois have been at loggerheads over working practices for the past nine months. Management wants staff to work a rolling shift system, on a flexible roster drawn up by management.

Tate said yesterday that the lock- out was made necessary 'to protect the company assets and the reliability of deliveries to customers'.

The plant is part of Tate's AE Staley subsidiary. Tate said it expects to maintain production at Decatur using employees from other Staley factories.

The factory makes starch and sweeteners from corn for food and drinks manufacturing.

Employees are represented by the Allied Industrial Workers Union. Staley has 10 factories in the US but the AIWU is present only at Decatur.

In conjunction with the French sugar company Generale Sucriere, Tate & Lyle has bought a 51 per cent stake in the largest sugar beet factory in the new Eastern European state of Slovakia.

Eastern Sugar - the Tate-Generale joint venture company - paid 442m Slovak crowns ( pounds 10m) for Juhocukor, which was previously state-owned. Annual sugar production is 30,000 tonnes, enough to satisfy about 15 per cent of Slovakia's domestic requirements.

Part of the consideration is in cash, and part will be in the exchange of technical knowledge.