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14 Nov 2022

Sarah Butler, The Guardian

UK: Over 750 workers at Jacob's factory vow to strike until the company agrees to negotiate over wages

"Staff at Jacob’s Cream Crackers Aintree factory go on ‘permanent strike’", 14 November 2022

UK production of the snack favourites Jacob’s Cream Crackers and Twiglets is at risk after hundreds of workers went on strike at owner Pladis’s factory in Aintree, near Liverpool.

More than 750 of about 800 workers at the plant, who help make 4,000 tons of crackers every year, say they will strike until bosses agree to negotiate on pay...

Workers say they were offered a pay rise of 4.25%, falling far short of their initial demand for a 10% pay rise – in line with inflation.

The GMB union, which is backing the strike, said workers had eased their demand to a rise of £1,750 each, amounting to an increase of about 9% for those on the lowest pay grade and less than 7% for more senior staff.

Pladis said it had offered an 8.9% pay increase over two years plus a one-off £500 cost of living payment.

The company said it was temporarily shifting some production to Portugal to ensure supplies in the run-up to Christmas after more than a month of dispute over pay at the UK factory. Workers in Aintree first took strike action in September but have now moved to a “permanent strike” over what they say is a “real-terms pay cut”...

A spokesperson for Pladis said: “We regret that the GMB has decided to take this course of action, despite all of the efforts we have made to reach an agreement with the union. However, we want to reiterate that our door remains open to the GMB for further discussions with their representatives.”...