Strikes threaten supplies of Branston Pickle, claims union

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

GMB members at Mizkan Euro’s site in Middleton, Rochdale are to strike next week
GMB members at Mizkan Euro’s site in Middleton, Rochdale are to strike next week

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Strikes at Mizkan Euro’s site in Middleton, Rochdale could threaten supplies of Branston Pickle, Sarson Vinegar and Haywards Pickled Vegetables, claimed Unite the Union.

More than 50 workers at the site have voted in favour of strike action after rejecting a pay offer the union claimed was a ‘substantial real terms pay cut’ – 5%, below the 12.3% rate of inflation.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Here we have another employer, Mizkan, who can afford to pay fairly but is refusing to do so.

‘Unacceptable’ pay cut

“Our members are critical to the success of this business, as well as to brands like Branston and Sarsons. They deserve to be paid a decent rate for the job but instead they’re being told to accept a substantial pay cut. This is just not acceptable.”

Mizkan’s customers include all the major supermarkets but Unite claimed Asda and Sainsbury’s would be worst hit by shortages created by the strikes.

Paul Tirebuck, HR Director, Mizkan Euro told Food Manufacture: “We can confirm that our union members at Mizkan Euro Middleton have voted for strike action on 18 & 19 October. With rising costs of raw materials, transport and energy we have, in the circumstances, made what we believe to be a reasonable pay offer.

‘No disruption anticipated’

“We are committed to constructively resolving this situation. We do not anticipate any disruption to supply to retailers or our consumers.” 

Workers will down tools from 6:00am on Tuesday 18 October to 5:59am on Thursday 20 October. Further industrial action has been called for Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 October.  

Unite regional officer Andrena Clarke added: “Strike action will inevitably lead to shortages of some of the UK’s favourite pickles and vinegars but this dispute is entirely of Mizkan’s own making. The company has been given every opportunity to make a pay offer that meets the expectations of Unite’s members but has failed to do so.”

Meanwhile, last month, Workers at Qruorn’s meat-free paste production facility in Billingham downed tools after talks over pay broke down.

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