The company, which announced substantial recruitment and investment plans in 2018, said it would add to its headcount as it increased production with the implementation of two new lines. The higher pay rate would apply to all permanently employed staff working in its Dunstable factory from 6 April, it confirmed.
In addition, it aims to implement the Real Living Wage to all agency staff. It is set to apply for membership of ‘The Living Wage Foundation’, which campaigns for the Real Living Wage, to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to pay a fair hourly rate.
The current National Minimum Wage for 21-24 year-olds now stands at £7.70 an hour, while the National Living Wage is set at £8.21. There are more than 4,700 UK Living Wage Employers, including more than one-third of companies listed on the FTSE 100 and household names including Ikea, Aviva and Nationwide.
Following a highly successful year in 2018, Signature Flatbreads said it had created 50 new jobs in 2019, having added two new production lines to its Dunstable factory as a result of new business. The recent launch of new Deli Kitchen products as part of its branded offering demonstrated the strength and stability of the business during turbulent times in the UK market, it said. Exports to non-EU countries were also growing in significance, the business said.
“Our business is only as good as the people who work within it, and we are fortunate to have a dedicated and loyal workforce," said Zizou Benchaoui, joint managing director of Signature Flatbreads. “Manufacturing top-quality products is essential to our success, so we believe this significant and ongoing investment is a clear signal to the industry of our confidence as a business, as well as to our staff, recognising their importance. We want to reassure our employees that we will be providing security during this uncertain time.
“The addition of our two new lines will enable us to keep up with the growing global demand for our flatbreads, whilst also offering employment opportunities to a considerable number of new workers.
Signature Flatbreads said 65% of staff at the Dunstable site were non-British EU citizens, and many had been left unsettled by the Government’s lengthy Brexit negotiations.
Signature Flatbreads supplies flatbreads such as tortilla wraps, pitta and naan bread to the UK’s major retailers and foodservice operators, as well as to 30 countries around the world. The company also owns the Planet Deli brand of long-life bakery products, and the popular Deli Kitchen brand of innovative flatbreads, now available from multiple retailers. Signature International Foods in India is a pioneering flatbread bakery supplying high-quality Indian breads as well as tortillas, pittas, pizza bases and other international flatbreads.