Alan Black, national officer at the GMB union, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that representatives from the GMB, Unite and Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) unions had held a productive meeting with the company last Friday and that further talks had taken place in York on Monday.
He added: “But there will obviously have to be an agreement soon, as this has being going on for months.
“As it stands, staff at York have rejected a 1% pay offer in one ballot and voted overwhelming in favour of conducting a strike ballot in another [consultative ballot held before the 1% offer was made], so this can’t go on for weeks and weeks. But that’s not a threat, it’s just the reality.”
The GMB was hoping that talks at a local level in York would result in a more favourable deal for staff, he said. “It was no surprise that the 1% offer was rejected.”
A Nestlé spokesman said: ”We can confirm that the offer has been rejected but we have agreed to resume local bargaining. Nestlé does not have national bargaining. We have agreed to meet again at a local level in York this week.”
Pay and pensions
The dispute came to a head in April 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.
At the time, the company told FoodManufacture.co.uk: "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."