Business Irish

Saturday 22 July 2017

Cadbury plant grinds to halt in row over outsourcing

Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The Cadbury chocolate factory ground to a halt yesterday as workers went on strike in a row over outsourcing.

Siptu and Unite members picketed the gate of the Coolock plant that employs around 350.

The factory made more than 30,000 tonnes of Flake, Twirl, Boost and chocolate squares last year.

As part of a restructuring proposal, Cadbury, which is now owned by the Swiss group Mondelez International, proposed the outsourcing of 17 jobs in its stores division.

A Labour Court recommendation, which included an offer by management to redeploy the affected workers elsewhere in the plant and implement a 4pc pay rise over two years, was rejected by two unions.

"The company has unilaterally implemented the outsourcing of the stores without agreement. They've signed a contract with a third-party provider to effectively do our members' jobs, so in that situation we felt the only option was to engage in an industrial dispute," said Richie Browne of Unite.

Workers from the SIPTU and UNITE trade unions pictured on the picket line at the Cadbury factory in Coolock. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Workers from the SIPTU and UNITE trade unions pictured on the picket line at the Cadbury factory in Coolock. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

"It is true to say that the company said that anybody in the stores who was affected would be offered alternative employment back in the factory - but our members felt it was the thin end of the wedge and if the company could outsource the stores, effectively they could outsource any position. That was the fear," he added.

"There has been outsourcing in the past, of the canteen and security, but they weren't seen as being core to production. The stores jobs looks after ingredients that goes into the chocolate making, and they deliver it into the stores to the machines. It is part of the production process."

Siptu and Unite members previously proposed talks on reducing costs and increasing flexibility in relation to the operation of the stores.

"This proposal was rejected outright by management leaving the workers with no option but to take the industrial action that will begin tomorrow morning," said John Dunne, Siptu sector organiser.

Gerry McCormack, Siptu manufacturing division organiser, says it was 'further erosion' of the plant's viability, after movement of the production of Time Out bars to Poland.

A spokeswoman for Mondelez said the company regretted that Siptu and Unite had taken the step to strike.

"We are facing intense pressures from international competition and any form of industrial action only undermines the future viability of the entire site," she added.

Irish Independent

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