The dispute follows a 2% pay offer for the year starting July 2018, which they rejected because they want a 3.2% increase, in line with the retail price index and to keep up with the soaring cost of living.
Four day strike
Meadow Foods’ management said it was in negotiations to resolve the issue but the strike went ahead as planned on Saturday at 6pm and will continue for four days ending today.
“Our members have shown a terrific determination to make their point loud and clear that they will not tolerate unfair pay,” said Dave Monaghan, regional officer, Unite the Union.
“Profits are up. The company is financially strong. It’s about time they thought about the people who are earning this wealth – their own employees – and make an offer through this union to end this dispute and restore some goodwill.”
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.
'No impact on customers'
In a statement Meadow Foods confirmed the strike began on Saturday at 6pm and is expected to last until Tuesday at 6pm.
“There has been no impact on production,” a spokesman added.
Prior to the strike the company said it was ‘involved in pay negotiations with a small number of unionised employees at its site in Holme on Spalding Moor (HoSM)’ and that it was a ‘fair and generous employer with no history of industrial action’.
"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,” it said at the time.
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%".