Jacob’s workers vote on new pay offer

An end to the pay dispute involving more than 750 workers at Jacob’s factory in Liverpool may in sight with a ballot being held on a new pay offer this week. Tony McDonough reports

Workers have been striking at the Jacob’s cracker and biscuit factory in Liverpool


More than 750 workers at the Jacob’s cracker and biscuit factory in Liverpool have taken part in a ballot on a new pay offer that could bring an end to strike action.

Workers at the site in Aintree are now in their fourth week of an all-out strike in a dispute over pay. But a result of the ballot on the new offer from Jacob’s owner Pladis is expected in the middle of this week.

Jacob’s makes Cream Crackers, Club biscuits, Twiglets, Jaffa Cakes cake bars, Mini Cheddars and Cracker Crisps at the factory. On September 26 staff began action that stopped short of an overall walkout.

However, this failed to shift the management stance and on November 14 the workers started an indefinite walkout. Around the same time Pladis shifted production of Cream Crackers to Portugal.

The GMB union has been pushing for an 8.5% pay offer but the company’s initial offer fell well short of this at just 3.75%.

LBN understands workers are now being balloted on an improved offer. This is worth 6.5% this year, with a one-off £500 payment. Another 3% is being offered for next year with a £250 one-off payment.

This possible breakthrough in the dispute comes almost two weeks after the conciliation service ACAS went into the factory to meet with bosses and union leaders. However, despite talks lasting eight hours, no agreement was reached.

Speaking to LBN last week GMB official Lisa Ryan told LBN: “There have been talks and we are still prepared to reach out to the company. We are still very far apart but that does not mean a deal cannot be done.”

Pladis has persuaded some workers and managers to defy the picket line and continue going into work, a move that has increased the bitterness between the two sides.

On Sunday, November 27, a driver attempted to enter the factory gates and a woman who was on the picket line was in collision with the vehicle.

In a statement Merseyside Police said: “The woman suffered a minor injury to her leg but declined hospital treatment. The man remained at the scene and assisted with police enquiries.”

A spokesperson for Pladis told LBN: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the GMB and its members at our Aintree bakery.

“This is a positive step forward as we can now come back together as a team to continue baking the great British products that our consumers know and love.”

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