Hundreds of Cadbury’s workers are set to demonstrate outside the chocolate manufacturer’s sites tomorrow as the firm releases its half-year results, Unite union has warned.
The staff are angry that the firm plans to renege the final year of a three-year pay deal, despite expecting to register huge profits. Prior to the recession taking hold, Cadbury had agreed a deal in line with the Retail Prices Index (RPI) plus 0.5%, but with a minimum of 2% for 2009. However, as the RPI in February was 0%, Unite claims the company is breaking the original agreement and instead imposing a deal of 0.5%.
The workers will protest during the breaks on shifts working at Bourneville, Chirk, Marlbrook and Somerdale plants.
Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for the food and retail sector, said: “The company has breached the agreement, which was to pay workers in line with the cost of living for three years.
“We have repeatedly offered to enter into meaningful negotiations and still will. We say to the management, talk to us because we can work this out. We do not want to take any action and it is very unusual for Cadbury, so to be demonstrating on Wednesday shows the strength of feeling among these workers.”
More than 1,000 workers across Cadbury’s sites are currently being balloted on the prospect of industrial action to force the company to uphold the agreement. The ballot result is expected towards the end of August.
A Cadbury spokesman said: “No business is immune from the economic uncertainty ahead and it’s essential we remain in as strong a position as possible if we’re to stay successful. In line with this approach, we took the decision to freeze the pay of all clerical and management staff this year.
The only exception was our factory staff, and we feel that, given the very low rate of inflation, our pay increase that was agreed in 2007 is very fair in the current economic climate. We have not gone back on any deal.”