Workers at Barry Callebaut’s chocolate factory in Oxfordshire, members of Britain’s biggest union Unite, have today (Thursday 27 September) lifted the threat of strike action after winning a better pay deal from bosses.
Plans for two 48 hour stoppages at Barry Callebaut’s Banbury plant, set for tomorrow (Friday 28 September) and Monday (1 October), have been called off and workers for the global manufacturer of chocolate products will be back doing the job that has helped the company become a world leader.
The new deal will see the union’s 108 members receive a 2.6 per cent pay increase from September to April 2013, instead of the 1.5 per cent previously on offer. This draws a line under the six month long dispute.
Workers have waged a battle for a fairer pay deal since April after the company, which supplies cocoa products to big name chocolate makers, offered a paltry 1.5 per cent pay rise, failing even to match the 2 per cent given to workers at another site.
As part of the deal, agreed between the parties last night (Wednesday 26 September), from April 2013 the union has secured a pay rise of RPI plus a minimum 1 per cent to a maximum 3.5 per cent – based on the RPI rate in March 2013.
Unite regional officer, Mick Polleck, said: “At long last managers have seen sense. It’s been a long road but our members have shown true grit and determination in their fight for a fair pay deal.
“Unite welcomes the decision which finally draws a line under a dispute which was allowed to drag on for too long.
“Our members can now get back to doing what they do best; making chocolate products for some of the globe’s biggest chocolate makers and helping Barry Callebaut retain its world class status.”
Barry Callebaut makes chocolate pellets from raw cocoa and supplies most of the UK’s major chocolate manufacturers.
Staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action with a ‘yes’ vote of 91.6 per cent in favour. Workers at Barry Callebaut, Banbury held two 24 hour stoppages on Saturday 22 September and Monday 24 September.
For further information contact Mick Pollek, Unite regional official, on 07711 057119 or Chantal Chegrinec, Unite communications officer, on 07774 146 777