Meadow Foods staff set to strike over 'shoddy' pay offer

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 8 Jan 2019

Staff at an East Yorkshire chocolate factory are planning four days of strike action after receiving what they call a “shoddy” pay offer.

Workers at Meadow Foods, in Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, are expected to walk out of the factory at 6pm on Saturday, January 12.

It comes after a union vote over a two per cent pay offer for the year starting July 2018.

Meadow Foods’ factory in East Yorkshire is the only independent manufacturer of chocolate crumb products – an ingredient used for making dairy milk chocolate.

Dave Monaghan, regional officer for union Unite, said: “Our members have overwhelmingly rejected a shoddy two per cent pay offer and are seeking an increase in line with the retail price index, currently running at 3.2 per cent, to keep up with the soaring cost of living.

Chocolate crumb is an ingredient used to produce dairy milk chocolate (john james

“This modest demand is in sharp and glaring contrast with the excessive 82 per cent increase that the company directors pocketed as highlighted in the latest accounts.

“It’s no wonder that our members are furious at the huge ‘them and us’ disparity between the pay of the bosses compared with those that actually generate the profits.”

The four days of action will include both night and day shifts, and run until 6pm on Tuesday, January 15.

It is understood around 25 workers will go on strike, out of the 75 who work at the factory.

Unite has however said there is still time for Meadow Foods to continue talks over pay.

Mr Monaghan said: “There is still a generous window of opportunity for the management to sit down and enter into meaningful negotiations before the strike is due to commence.

“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.”

Unite members voted by 73 per cent in favour of strike action.

Meadow Foods response

Meadow Foods released a statement in response to the news.

It said: "Meadow Foods is involved in pay negotiations with a small number of unionised employees at our site in Holme on Spalding Moor. 

"We are a fair and generous employer with no history of industrial action and hope to get this matter resolved as soon as possible.

"The fair and sustainable pay increase proposed by Meadow Foods is supported by the majority of our 300 workforce and so we are disappointed that 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 site at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor has been a dairy factory for more than 75 years.

Today, it makes chocolate crumb, a mixture of sugar, dairy milk and cocoa liquor which is used in chocolate production.

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