Unite union raises concerns over coronavirus payment for British-based Cadbury staff

The UK trade union Unite has raised concerns from employees at Cadbury over bonus payments it believes should be made to British workers that have reportedly been given to US and EU based staff for working during the coronavirus pandemic. Neill Barston reports.

Parent company Mondelēz International has responded to the situation in stating that its workforce is offered a competitive wage and support, and that it has brought in a number of measures to assist its employees in handling present trading conditions.

Unite said it is now consulting with more than 1,200 members at Cadbury sites in Bourneville near Birmingham, Chirk in Wales and Marlbrook in Hereford, on whether to take the issue further in seeking payments which staff feel they are due.

According to the union, it has called on Mondelēz to model its pandemic response on other food manufacturers, including Kraft Heinz, Nestle and Coca Cola, that have provided extra payments for UK staff who have worked during the lockdown, given that the companies net global revenues have reportedly risen during the first quarter of the year. The union noted that Mondelez’s share of the British chocolate market has also increased by 2.2 per cent, following a strong Easter performance.

Unite national officer Joe Clarke said: “Throughout the crisis, Cadbury’s workers have put themselves at risk and shown great flexibility, working longer hours to compensate when the workforce was reduced by as much as 30 per cent because of the lockdown.

“There is growing resentment amongst Cadbury staff that Mondelez workers in the US, France, Belgium and Spain have been given bonuses while their hard work is yet to be recognised. This is particularly galling given Cadbury’s strong performance during the crisis, which has been achieved through the hard work of our members.

“We are consulting with our members at Cadbury’s sites in Bourneville, Chirk and Marlbrook over how they want to respond. Unite urges Cadbury and Mondelez to follow the example of Kraft Heinz, Nestle and Coca Cola, who have already implemented bonuses for UK staff in recognition of their contributions during lockdown.”

In response to Unite, Mondelēz said it recognises the considerable efforts staff had made during the past few months, and had made additional steps to ensure that they have been supported during a challenging business period.

A statement from the company read: “We understand this has been an uncertain time for everyone, including our colleagues and we’ve been incredibly grateful for their hard work and commitment over the past three months.

“Our number one priority throughout has been their health, safety, and well-being and we have gone beyond many others to proactively put in place extensive measures in this space, many of which have been openly recognised by Unite. This includes offering emotional and well-being support, implementing health screenings, temperature checks, social distancing measures and making face masks available at all our factories.

“We have also helped colleagues by offering greater flexibility to support their personal needs for example paid emergency leave, accommodating shift swapping and flexing of work patterns, as well full pay for those who are shielding themselves or have family members who are required to shield.

“We are therefore disappointed with Unite’s comments as they fail to reflect all we are doing to recognise and support our people during this time. We’re continuing to discuss with union representatives so we can try and resolve any issues as soon as possible, in the best interests of all our colleagues.”





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