Strike action planned at Mondelēz’s Cadbury Ireland plant

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Industrial action comes as Mondelēz shifts Time Out production from Ireland to Poland. Photo: iStock - lovleah
Industrial action comes as Mondelēz shifts Time Out production from Ireland to Poland. Photo: iStock - lovleah

Related tags Cadbury plc Chocolate Cadbury dairy milk

Union members at Mondelēz Ireland’s Cadbury factory in Coolock plan to stage a walk-out this Thursday in protest over plans to outsource the jobs of 17 store workers.

Members of the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) and UNITE say they will stop work for an indefinite period from Thursday, March 3 at 7am.

Mondelēz says the 17 affected workers have been offered roles at the Coolock plant and a pay rise.

Union concerns

SIPTU Manufacturing Division organizer, Gerry McCormack, said in a press release that the jobs Mondelēz’s was attempting to outsource were “core to the operation of the plant”​ and added the move was “seen as a further erosion of the viability of the facility”.

“This attempt to outsource the store operation to another company follows the decision by the management of Mondelēz International to move production of the ‘Time Out’ bar from Ireland to Poland,”​ he said.

Polish shift

In February last year, Mondelēz announced plans​ to close its Tallaght chewing gum ingredient factory and to restructure chocolate production in Ireland at its Coolock and Rathmore sites, resulting in around 200 job cuts.

It said it would invest €11.7m ($13.1m) on chocolate processing technology at its Coolock plant to concentrate on core brands Cadbury Dairy Milk 8-square, Flake, Twirl and Boost. But said, after declining sales, the plant would stop Time Out and Pink Snack production.

The firm has since axed Pink Snack from its portfolio and moved Time Out production to Poland.

Mondelēz has followed a Labour Court recommendation to outsource the jobs of 17 directly employed store workers at the Coolock site. SIPTU claims it has rejected further talks with the unions.

Industrial action will undermine Coolock’s viability: Mondelēz

A spokesperson for Mondelēz Ireland said the firm has received notification from the unions in response to outsourcing of “a small number of non-core roles”.

They said impacted individuals would be offered equivalent opportunities at the Coolock site.

“The company regrets that SIPTU and UNITE has taken this step and has again re-affirmed its acceptance of the proposals contained in the WRC (Workplace Relations Commission) recommendations including 4% pay increases for all impacted staff,” ​said the spokesperson.

The firm added that the Coolock chocolate plant was under intense pressure from international competition and any industrial action will only undermine its future viability.

Mondelēz said last year its Irish chocolate operations were over twice the cost of its chocolate manufacturing in other geographies.

The company said it remained available to meet with the SIPTU and UNITE representatives to avoid industrial action.

Workers in Chicago

Mondelēz is also facing a lawsuit in the US brought by workers at its Oreo facility in Chicago​ who will be laid off as the company shifts some of its production to Mexico.

The Cadbury maker has been restructuring its manufacturing footprint under its supply chain efficiency program​ launched in 2013.

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