A union claims production of some of the UK’s favourite biscuits will be halted at an Edinburgh factory as staff plan to stage a series of strikes in a pay dispute.
The GMB union has accused bosses at Burton’s Biscuits Co in Sighthill of making a “derisory” pay offer, saying it shows management “do not value” the workers.
The manufacturer makes well-known biscuit brands including Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels.
GMB members at the plant voted by 91% for industrial action after management refused to increase a 1.6% pay offer for the next year, the union said.
An indefinite work to rule and overtime ban begins from 2pm on Tuesday ahead of a series of 24-hour strikes, with the first starting at 6am the following morning.
Further strikes are planned at 6am on September 16 and September 23.
“Burton’s stubborn stance on this year’s pay offer is an insult to staff that have worked throughout the lockdown at management’s insistence,” GMB Scotland organiser Benny Rankin said.
“Burton’s derisory pay offer holds a mirror up to this management – they clearly do not value the contribution of their staff and have no interest in recognising and rewarding them properly.”
He added: “Their refusal to meaningfully engage with a workforce that deserve so much better means we have been left with little choice but to strike for a decent pay offer.”
A Burton’s Biscuit Co spokesman said the company was “shocked” at the GMB’s request for a 7% pay rise but was “always open to meaningful discussions on pay”.
He accused the union of not sharing offers about pay and flexible working openly with members and revealed there has been a £1.2 million impact on the bakery during the coronavirus pandemic.
The spokesman said: “Against the backdrop of growing economic uncertainty, the country entering a depression and rising levels of unemployment, we have made what we consider to be a series of very fair and reasonable offers, enabling us to provide job security alongside increased earnings.
“Alongside the challenging environment, this action may only serve to jeopardise our employees’ ongoing job security.
“Our desire is to find a mutually acceptable solution for our colleagues and the business, and we are willing to resume discussions with employees’ representatives at the earliest opportunity.
“We also hope that we can return to full production as soon as possible and move forward in a spirit of unity and co-operation in a safe, enjoyable and productive working environment.”