Nestlé staff “very unlikely” to accept 1% pay offer

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pension, Nestlé

Nestlé staff “very unlikely” to accept 1% pay offer
Early indications are that the 1% rise in basic pay offered to staff at Nestlé UK’s York factory might not be enough to avert the threat of industrial action.

The company tabled the offer last month after its earlier proposal to freeze pay had prompted unions to start balloting members about going on strike.

Members of the GMB, Unite and Usdaw (The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) who voted in this initial consultative ballot were overwhelmingly in favour of holding a strike ballot, Alan Black, national officer at the GMB union, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“They voted nine-to-one in favour.”

As the consultative ballot had been launched before Nestlé had made its 1% offer, a second ballot was now in progress, he said.

However, the pay offer had not impressed members, he said. “The irony is that had Nestlé offered 1% back in January when inflation was lower, it would have seemed considerably more appealing.

“I can only go by what the shop stewards are telling me, and we will obviously have to wait for the official result in a week or so, but I think members are very unlikely to accept it.”

Pay rise in line with inflation

The dispute came to a head last month after staff at Nestlé’s chocolate factory in York and its sweets factory in Fawdon, Newcastle, were told that pay rates would be frozen in 2010.

They were also unhappy about proposed changes to the final salary pension scheme, said Black.“Nestlé has got money rolling out of its ears and the chief executive was awarded a substantial pay rise this year. Our members just want a pay rise in line with inflation."

A Nestlé spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that in York we have offered a 1% pay increase on base rates with an increase in bonus opportunity from 4% to a maximum of 5.6%. The unions are balloting their membership on this offer.”

She added: "The economic environment remains very tough in 2010. In this climate, it's important we manage the costs we control in order to remain competitive and to give us the means to invest for the future."

Related topics: Confectionery

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