Cadbury plays down chocolate supply fears

By Nick Hughes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cadbury, Trade union, Strike action

Cadbury has insisted that potential strike action by its workforce will not affect chocolate supply, despite claims made by union officials.

Workers union Unite says industrial action by employees at Cadbury’s Bourneville, Chirk, Marlbrook and Somerdale plants “is certain to hit supplies of some of the most popular chocolate products in the country, including Wispa, Crunchie, Dairy Milk and Creme Egg”.

But Cadbury disputes the claim, saying in a statement that it expects to see no impact on sales of confectionery.

Pay promise

Members of Unite this week voted eight to one in favour of strike action against what they claim is Cadbury breaking its pay promise.

Unite claims Cadbury is refusing to honour the final year of a three year pay deal, which was agreed in 2007.

The union says Cadbury agreed a deal of RPI plus 0.5 per cent with the workforce, with a minimum of 2 per cent for 2009. However, as RPI in February was 0 per cent, it claims the company is breaking the original agreement and instead imposing a deal of 0.5 per cent.

Workers’ anger

"It is little wonder that this left workers choking with anger, as this overwhelming vote shows,”​ said Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for the food and retail sector. “It is unacceptable that a company as profitable as Cadbury seeks to use a recession to snatch back money promised to workers, so unless Cadbury thinks again and fast, a full industrial action ballot will get underway.”

Cadbury disputes the claim saying it has kept to the terms of its three year pay deal. “In the light of current pay freezes for all other Cadbury employees this increase is fair, particularly given current economic conditions,”​ a statement said.

A full industrial action ballot will now proceed at the company bringing a strike among the 1,200-strong workforce one step closer.

Cadbury announced in July that it had beaten market expectations for the first half of the year. Sales were up 4 per cent for the year half to £2,767m, while chocolate sales increased 10 per cent.

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