Jacob’s Liverpool staff vote to strike in pay row

Hundreds of workers at the Jacob’s Crackers and Twiglets factory in Liverpool vote in favour of strike action in pay dispute

Jacob’s cracker and biscuit factory in Liverpool


Hundreds of workers at the Jacob’s factory in Aintree may stage a walkout in a dispute over pay.

Originally opened in 1914, the plant employs almost 700 people. It can produce up to 6,000 cream crackers every minute. It also makes Club biscuits, Twiglets, Jaffa Cakes cake bars, Mini Cheddars and Cracker Crisps.

The company has offered workers a 3.75% pay rise. However, with inflation now running at 10.1% the GMB Union is pushing for a much higher offer. It has just released details of a ballot.

It says 554 people voted, an 82.2% turnout, and 485 staff came out in favour of strike action. A slightly higher number of workers – 489 – voted in favour of taking action short of a strike.

Jacob’s was started in Waterford in Ireland in 1851. Its UK operation became a separate business in 1922. It became part of Associated Biscuits in 1960 and then Nabisco in 1982, followed by Danone. United Biscuits acquired the business in 2004.

Private equity firms Blackstone and PAI bought United Biscuits for £1.6bn in 2006. In 2014, United Biscuits was acquired by Turkish group Yildiz for a reported £2bn. It is run by a division of the business called Pladis, whose other brands include McVitie’s Biscuits.

In 2018 it was reported that Pladis was considering a sale of the Jacob’s brand in a possible £100m deal. Media reports suggested Pladis had hired investment bankers Oppenheimer to find a buyer.

Plaids told LBN: “We are aware that GMB members at the Aintree factory have voted to take industrial action and remain in discussions with union representatives on site.”

Pay disputes are now becoming commonplace across the UK. Rail unions have staged a series of walkouts. And last week Arriva bus drivers accepted an 11.1% pay offer bringing a month-long strike to a close.

There is also trouble brewing at the Port of Liverpool. More than 500 dock workers have voted 99% in favour of going on strike. They are unhappy at being offered a 7% pay rise. However, port owner Peel Ports has urged the Unite union to “keep talking”.

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