Workers to strike at Yorkshire chocolate crumb factory

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

73% of Unite members have voted to go on strike at Meadow Foods. Photo: Unite.
73% of Unite members have voted to go on strike at Meadow Foods. Photo: Unite.

Related tags: Strike action, chocolate crumbs

Unite members have voted by 73% to strike at Meadow Foods chocolate crumb factory in Holme on Spalding Moor, Yorkshire, UK.

Staff plan to strike over four days from Saturday (January 12) until Tuesday (January 15) after a dispute over a 2% payrise. 

Cost of living

The workers are due to walk out at 6pm on Saturday, which will affect night and day shifts over the four days. 

Dave Monaghan, regional officer, Unite, said workers voted to strike over a 2% pay offer for the year starting July 2018 but there was still time for the management to come to the table for constructive talks. 

“Our members have overwhelmingly rejected a 2% pay offer and are seeking an increase in line with the retail price index, currently running at 3.2% to keep up with the soaring cost of living,” ​said Monaghan. 

“There is still a generous widow of opportunity for the management to sit down and enter into meaningful negotiations before the strike is due to commence,” ​he added. 

“This site produces ingredients for other manufacturers and, if the strike goes ahead, we predict it will have a negative impact on the factory’s ability to keep up with customer demand.”​ 

Dairy ingredients

Meadow Foods supplies more than 100,000 tonnes of dairy ingredients from three UK factories in Chester, Yorkshire and Peterborough, across sectors including; ready meals, sandwiches, bakery, confectionery, puddings, biscuits and ice cream. 

The site at Holme on Spalding Moor manufactures sweetened condensed milk and chocolate crumb products and more recently soft cheese and Foodservice products.

In a statement Meadow Foods said it was ‘involved in pay negotiations with a small number of unionised employees at its site in Holme on Spalding Moor (HoSM)’. 

“We are a fair and generous employer with no history of industrial action and hope to get this matter resolved as soon as possible,” a spokesman said. ​​

"The fair and sustainable pay increase proposed by Meadow Foods is supported by the majority of our 300 workforce and we are disappointed a small group of employees at our HoSM site has decided to take this action. ​​

"Meadow Foods’ management remains committed to positively resolving this issue as soon as possible. Our door remains open for continued constructive negotiations."​​

The spokesman added Meadow Foods does not expect there to any significant impact on customers due to the business being able to continue to operate despite this action and iterated it "consistently gave pay increases of 2% while many competitors either froze pay rises or capped them at 1%"​​.   

The company added: Meadow Foods employs 75 people at its HoSM site, 40 of which are members of Unite union with 25 individuals voting for strike action (33% of site’s workforce).

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Ingredients

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