The GMB union gave notice of a planned four-day strike by confectionery maker Tangerine’s workers as from November 8, citing a pay rise dispute and poor working conditions as the reason behind it.
It claimed that the union members working at the company’s York factory were actually “frustrated and angry” about scheduled pay rises. According to the union, Tangerine offered – albeit “begrudgingly”- a 1% salary increase after consenting to hold a meeting with its representatives. However, the members rejected the offer totally.
The GMB organiser, Ben Kirkham said that the union has witnessed and endless list of attacks on its members including paid breaks as well as hand washing time, training money plus bonus payments pulled, pension contributions cut, and pension provider changed, to name a few. So, the strike is not just about turning down an entire 1% salary rise, but rather it was about the union members “rebuilding their terms and conditions”.
Kirkham said that the GMB members feel that they have been pushed to the wall and the only option they have is to strike. He stressed that was the last resort for the union members. With Christmas just around the corner, they were saying ‘bah, humbug’ to this ‘’stingy employer’’ – Tangerine.
GMB warned that should the negotiations collapse after the planned strikes, what will follow will be continuous industrial action short of a strike throughout November. If nothing changes, then the union will take further action after November 30 – if necessary.
Eating Into Employees’ Terms & Conditions
Tangerine manufactures confectionery brands Butterkist, BlackJack, Flumps, Fruit Salad, and Refereshers, which were acquired by Blackstone Group, a U.S private equity company in 2011. The union claimed that the firm “returned this investment by eroding workers’ terms and conditions in favour of profit”.