Tangerine faces more strikes after pay row

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

GMB union members criticise 'derisory' pay deal from Tangerine (Flickr/Kevin Botto)
GMB union members criticise 'derisory' pay deal from Tangerine (Flickr/Kevin Botto)

Related tags: Strike action, Trade union

Further strikes at confectionery manufacturer Tangerine’s York factory are planned, after a breakdown in talks over workers’ pay.

Tangerine’s pay offer – a 1.25% increase backdated to April 2016 – would be “taken off the table” ​if it wasn’t accepted by Friday (December 9), according to union GMB.

The union accused the sweet maker of using bullying tactics against workers that chose to strike, including threatening action for unauthorised absence.

Ben Kirkham, GMB organiser, said he was disappointed by the lack of communication from Tangerine and its actions against the union’s members.

“These threats are unacceptable and the pay offer is derisory, but GMB members have maintained their dignity whilst facing continued provocation to their job security,”​ said Kirkham.

‘The dispute is justified’

“This clearly undermines the relationship Tangerine has with its workers and shows the dispute is justified – we have to face up to bullying employers.”

Kirkham said the pay rise would not cover the cost of living in York and that workers at the factory could no longer afford to “take the hit”.

“Now Tangerine will have to deal with further strikes in the run up to Christmas – their busiest time of the year,” ​added Kirkham.

However, Tangerine explained that the deadline to accept the back-dated pay rise was set so workers could receive it in their December wages.

“We’ve been honest with them​ [the union] that, as we are now in December, this is their final opportunity to accept our 2016 pay offer,” ​said a Tangerine spokesman.

‘No longer valid’

“We’d like to put that increase into their December pay packet, plus backdated increases to April, but we’ve been frank that this must be accepted by December 9 or the 2016 offer is no longer valid because we’re obviously heading into a new year.”

Tangerine claimed that its door remained open to the union for talks and that the factory would remain operational despite strikes from its workers. Industrial action over the Christmas period would not affect supplies of the company’s products​, as it had already produced all the stock it needed, it claimed.

The GMB union has yet to confirm a date for the strike, but Kirkham said “further strike action is inevitable”.

Union members took part in 24 hour strikes at the factory on November 23, 30 and December 1.

The York factory produces a range of traditional sweet treats, including: sherbet lemons, butter mintoes and luxury fudge.

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