The Yorkshire facility is the only producer of KP Nuts in the UK, putting supplies of the popular snack under threat.
More than 80% of the workers at the Rotherham factory voted in favour of industrial action after an 8% pay offer was rejected, with trade union Unite warning KP Snacks that further strikes could be on the horizon.
According to Unite, the average pay of KP Snacks employees has fallen in real terms by 14% since 2018, while profits have increase 275% in the same period.
KP Snacks owns brands including McCoy’s, Hula Hoops, Tyrell’s and Butterkist, in addition to its KP Nuts range, the UK’s number one nut brand based on Nielsen data.
Workers want 'fairer share' of profits
Following the announcement, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham quipped “pay your workers peanuts, expect strike action”.
“The company has increased its profits by an astonishing 275% since 2018. But the workers’ pay has fallen 14% in real terms over the same period,” Graham added.
“That’s why workers are refusing to accept anything less than a pay deal which keeps up with the cost of living. The workers have Unite’s total support in their drive for a fairer share of the company’s huge profits.”
Meanwhile, Unite regional officer Chris Rawlinson urged KP Snacks to up its pay offer in order to “avoid a nut shortage across pubs and supermarkets” in the UK.
“KP Snacks made £54 million in profit last year, the company can easily afford to pay workers more,” Rawlinson said.
“Management should be focused on negotiating an end to the dispute or strike action will escalate.”
Pay offer is 'fair and equitable'
In response, KP Snacks issued a statement reassuring customers and consumers that "robust contingency plans" would quickly be put in place in order to limit shortages.
"I can confirm that following further wage negotiations with colleagues and their representatives at our Hellaby site, our latest pay offer has been rejected and we have been advised by Unite that they will be taking strike action from the 5 to the 12 September," said Mark Duffy, manufacturing director at KP Snacks.
"We believe that the offer of 8% with no strings backdated to April 2023 is fair, equitable, and ahead of most pay deals this year within the industry. We are extremely disappointed to have reached this situation, which is unprecedented for KP, and had hoped to avoid the announced strike and resultant impact on colleagues."
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