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Jacobs crackers packet

Pladis has temporarily shifted some of its Jacob’s Cream Crackers production abroad as more than 750 UK workers go on strike.

GMB union bosses have said the company is trying to undermine strike action at the Merseyside factory by moving production outside the UK.

British Baker understands that a proportion of Jacob’s Cream Crackers production will be undertaken temporarily by a third-party supplier in Portugal.

Staff at the Aintree plant – which also makes products including Twiglets and Club bars – have been taking limited industrial action since September in a dispute over pay.

From today, the 751 workers will walk out every day until Pladis agrees to negotiate over what the union described as a real-terms pay cut.

Pladis said it regretted that the GMB was taking this action despite the efforts it had made to reach an agreement with the union.

“However, we want to reiterate that our door remains open to the GMB for further discussions with their representatives,” stated the company.

GMB national officer Eamon O’Hearn said Pladis workers were “rightly angry”.

“They put themselves on the line to keep the company going during the pandemic,” he added. “Now they need some help to get them through the cost of living crisis. But it’s falling on deaf ears. In fact, more than that, bosses are shifting an iconic British brand to Portugal to undermine their own workers.

“Jacob’s workers will now be on strike 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the company comes back to the negotiating table.”

Pladis, which operates 25 factories in 11 countries, also produces brands including McVitie’s, Ülker and Carr’s.

In September, Pladis’s latest accounts filed with Companies House showed the business’s revenue fell 7% to £2bn in 2021. Pladis attributed the 7% drop in revenue mainly to the translation of the results from Ülker, the Turkish arm of the group, into sterling.