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9 November 2016
Tangerine workers to strike in York
Tangerine picket line 9 November 2016 photo Nigel Smith
Nigel Smith, York Socialist Party
General union the GMB has announced four days of strike action and continuous action short of strikes at the York sweet factory, Tangerine. Pickets will be out across every shift and there is a feeling of solidarity both on the picket line and within the factory.
One worker said that this dispute is bringing the workers together in a way not seen before and there has been a 200% increase in union membership in the months since the workers rejected an initial offer. There was an 82% vote in favour of this action and although talks are continuing, there is a feeling that the dispute will go on because the majority shareholders of Tangerine - private equity firm Blackstone Group, demand huge payouts every year, before any wage negotiations take place.
Since 2011 Blackstone has taken £100 million out of Tangerine's profits while wages have been held back and working conditions attacked.
Ben Kirkham, GMB organiser said: "This is not about rejecting an outright 1% pay offer, this is about members rebuilding their terms and conditions. We have witnessed a long list of attacks on paid breaks and hand washing time, reduced pension contributions and the provider changed, training money and bonus payments pulled - the list is really endless. We've seen a US based private equity firm come to the UK and smash the Tangerine Dream. What was once a pleasant place to work is now nothing more than a sweet return for its capital partners."
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