UK could face a shortage of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels as factory workers vote for strike action

UK could face a shortage of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels as factory workers vote for strike action

- in GMB
fork lift truck in a factory

There could be a shortage of Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels this month as factory workers are threatening to go on strike over ‘derisory’ pay offer.

Workers at Burton Biscuits’ Edinburgh factory, which also produces Maryland cookies, could bring production to a halt after demanding a 7% pay rise. The GMB union represents the workers and said the proposed 1.6% increase offered by the company was ‘derisory’ and showed that management ‘do not value’ their employees.

Burton Biscuits has hit back saying the union’s demands are unreasonable given the current economic climate.

The factory, which makes over 7 million biscuits per day, employs more than 400 people. Members of GMB at the factory voted by 91% in favour of industrial action and the first 24-hour strike is due to take place from 6am this Wednesday 9 September. Two further strikes are also planned for 16 and 23 September – both also starting at 6am.

GMB Scotland organiser Benny Rankin said: “Burton’s stubborn stance on this year’s pay offer is an insult to staff that have worked throughout the lockdown at management’s insistence.

“Burton’s derisory pay offer holds a mirror up to this management – they clearly do not value the contribution of their staff and have no interest in recognising and rewarding them properly.

“Their refusal to meaningfully engage with a workforce that deserve so much better means we have been left with little choice but to strike for a decent pay offer.”

A spokesman for Burton’s Biscuit Co said the company was ‘shocked’ at the union’s demand for a 7% pay increase but was nevertheless “always open to meaningful discussions on pay”. He also accused GMB of not sharing offers about pay and flexible working arrangements with its members and revealed there has been a £1.2 million impact on the business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The spokesman said: “Against the backdrop of growing economic uncertainty, the country entering a depression and rising levels of unemployment, we have made what we consider to be a series of very fair and reasonable offers, enabling us to provide job security alongside increased earnings.

“Alongside the challenging environment, this action may only serve to jeopardise our employees’ ongoing job security.

“Our desire is to find a mutually acceptable solution for our colleagues and the business, and we are willing to resume discussions with employees’ representatives at the earliest opportunity.

“We also hope that we can return to full production as soon as possible and move forward in a spirit of unity and co-operation in a safe, enjoyable and productive working environment.”

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