Valeo pay dispute sparks vote for strike action

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

GMB Union members have voted in favour of strike action at the Valeo Foods plant in York
GMB Union members have voted in favour of strike action at the Valeo Foods plant in York

Related tags: Confectionery

GMB Union members at the Valeo Foods plant in York – home to confectionery brands Fox’s Glacier Mints, Mint Humbugs and Poppets – have voted in favour of strike action after a dispute over pay.

Votes for industrial action followed new terms and conditions that saw bosses offer a below inflation pay rise, according to the union. 

GMB criticised the manufacturer for not factoring in the rapid increase of cost-of-living and rampant inflation into its new deal.  

Lowest paid workers would also be excluded from a one-off payment, with others in the business set to lose two days holiday a year. Valeo has given notice to GMB that it wanted to end collective bargaining at the York site. 

Dates for action 

The union will meet with members to discuss dates for industrial action 

Katherine Mitchell, GMB organiser, said: “The deal has been overwhelmingly rejected twice by workers at the York site. The company has refused to increase the offer, despite an improved offer being made to workers at the sister plant in Pontefract.     

“GMB members have kept the company and production going throughout the pandemic - all they are asking for is a fair deal.  They have been left with no option but to take strike action.    

“There is still time for the company to get back round the negotiating table before industrial action begins. GMB urges them to do just that, for the good of the workers and morale at the site.” 

 ​A spokesman for Valeo Foods told Food Manufacture: "We are currently engaged in very constructive conversations with our colleagues as part of a routine annual pay review process however it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the specifics of that dialogue."

Recent acquisitions  

Disputes over pay at the York site come five months after Valeo agreed to acquire meat snacks group New World Foods Europe (NWFE) from Australia-based entrepreneur Tony Quinn.  

Valeo Foods group chief executive Seamus Kearney said the acquisition added “a new and very strong dimension to​ [the] snacking business” ​and would help bolster NWFE’s portfolio of ‘on-trend’ protein snacks. 

Meanwhile, the end of 2021 saw fresh-prepared meal manufacturer Bakkavor agree a pay increase for staff at its Lincolnshire factories.​  

Unite, the trade union, has said it has secured a pay rise for hundreds of workers employed by Bakkavor at four factories – Bakkavor Pizza in Holbeach, Bakkavor Salad in Bourne, Bakkavor Desserts in Newark and Bakkavor Meals in Sutton Bridge. 

Related topics: People & Skills, Confectionery

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