Saturday 14 December 2019

Global supply of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Flake and Twirl to grind to a halt

Dairy Milk chocolate: production will come to a halt
Dairy Milk chocolate: production will come to a halt

Allison Bray

The global supply of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Flake and Twirl will grind to a halt next week when workers at the chocolate manufacturer's Coolock plant walk off the job in a dispute over outsourcing, according to the Unite trade union.

"We're going to strike," Unite's Richie Browne vowed last night after 350 workers belonging to Unite and Siptu voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

The unions served strike notice on the company on Wednesday morning and have vowed to "bring production to a standstill" from 7am next Thursday unless the dispute is resolved, Mr Browne said.

If the strike proceeds, production of popular brands, including Dairy Milk eight-square, Flake, Twirl and Boost, will cease, affecting supplies throughout much of the world, Mr Browne told the Irish Independent.

The Coolock plant produces about 30,000 tonnes of the chocolate bars a year, which are shipped across Europe as well as South America, Ireland and the UK, he said. However, production of the company's popular Creme Eggs and Easter eggs will not be affected if the strike goes ahead just weeks before Easter.

At issue is the company's plan to outsource 17 jobs at the plant's warehouse to an outside agency. Many are senior employees who have been with the company for a long time.

He said the union is furious that Cadbury - which was taken over by multinational food giant Mondelez - implemented a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) recommendation to outsource the jobs, which the union has totally rejected.

The company said the affected workers would be "offered alternative equivalent opportunities within the Coolock site."

"The company regrets that Siptu and Unite has taken this step and has again reaffirmed its acceptance of the proposals contained in the WRC recommendations including 4pc pay increases for all impacted staff," a Mondelez spokeswoman said, adding the company is facing "intense pressures from international competition and any form of industrial action only undermines the future viability of the entire site".

Meanwhile talks to end an industrial dispute that threatens to leave 90,000 Luas commuters without a service for two days, including St Patrick's Day, will begin on Monday.

Transdev and Siptu have agreed to enter a series of "intensive negotiations" at the WRC to avoid further disruption to services on March 8 and March 17 next.

The talks will take place on Monday and Wednesday.

Irish Independent

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