Workers at three Cadbury sites have secured a new pay deal which trade unionists say will counter inflation.
About 1,300 workers will benefit from the two-year agreement which trade union Unite said also included a big uplift in maternity pay.
Staff in Bournville in the West Midlands – the historical home of the chocolate maker – Chirk, near Wrexham in Wales, and Marlbrook in Herefordshire, have agreed the deal with management.
Workers will receive a backdated pay rise for April 2017 to March 2018 of 3.2 per cent, which was the level of the retail price index (RPI) measure of inflation in February. The pay deal increase for 2018-19 will be based on the RPI in February in 2018.
The deal also beats the average rate of pay growth. Average earnings increased by 2.1% in the three months to July, which the Office for National Statistics said was equal to a 0.4% real-terms cut in the value of pay packets once inflation is taken into account.
Cadbury’s owner Mondelēz International said in a statement:
“We are delighted to have reached a deal with the teams at our Bournville, Chirk and Marlbrook sites.
“While ensuring the business remains competitive, the deal rewards our respected colleagues across our three chocolate manufacturing sites in the UK.
“Our factories, and the people who work there, are absolutely vital to our business in the UK, which is why we’ve invested £200 million in the UK, including £75 million to secure the future of Bournville.”
Cadbury also agreed to lengthen the period of maternity pay set at 65 per cent of earnings from 12 weeks to seven and a half months. The deal is for the period following the initial six weeks of leave – paid at 90 per cent of pay – required by law.
This will be topped up by the Government’s statutory maternity pay, Unite says.
Union bosses hailed the generous pay deal. Unite’s national lead officer for food, drink and agriculture Joe Clarke said:
“We are very pleased with this deal that our members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of.“It is a package designed to counter rising inflation levels and protect our members’ standard of living during these challenging economic times.
“Unite has guaranteed a cost of living increase for Cadbury UK workers nationally with this two-year deal.”
“We are delighted that the Cadbury business, with its strong ethical traditions, can still act in a positive fashion in relation to its workforce and set the benchmark within the food, drink and agriculture industries for other employers to follow.
“The recognition of how important decent maternity pay arrangements are is warmly welcomed by all our members and is an example which others in this sector should emulate.”