Sweets staff vote for action on pay

STAFF at one of Blackpool's biggest firms have voted in favour of industrial action in a row over pay.

Around 100 staff at Tangerine Confectionery voted in favour of action after turning down a 2.5 per cent pay offer from the management – after the company spent millions buying out a leading rival.

The Marton-based firm, which this year expanded its empire by buying out Cadbury Schweppes for Monkhill, employs around 190 staff at its Vicarage Lane site.

Union leaders today told The Gazette they were unsure what form of industrial action would take place but have not ruled out strike action.

They have now called a meeting for tomorrow which will determine how they proceed.

The company is one of the leading names in sweets in the UK, employing 650 staff at four sites, with a turnover of around 60m.

It is believed the action will affect all departments at the former Burton's Foods factory in Blackpool.

Ian Hodson, organising district secretary for the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, told The Gazette: "The company has offered its workers 2.5 per cent which the staff have turned down, and rightly so.

"With inflation at around four per cent, the staff have a right to ask for a better pay deal for the work they do.

"They were balloted two weeks ago and the response was that 87.5 per cent are in favour of industrial action.

"Tangerine Confectionery is a very successful company which has purchased one of the largest sweet-making firms in the country for cash, so they are not short of money.

"The workers just want a fair deal in this year's pay review which they are not getting."

Tangerine's brands include Princess marshmallows, Taveners and MOJO. It has sites based in Poole, Liverpool, Blackpool and Yorkshire.

The company bought Yorkshire-based Monkhill for a reported 58m in February

It makes and manufactures Butterkist popcorn and Barrett Sherbert Fountains.

One worker, who did not wish to be named, said: "We are not pleased with this offer. It is well below what we expected.

"Considering the firm is going so well, we expected a much better offer."

A company spokesman said: "The company is aware that the union have had a vote but, at the moment, we are not aware of what kind of action they intend to take.

"We expect further contact with them after the bank holiday."