Chocolate shop staff strike in pay dispute

Last updated at 10:05 13 May 2004

Staff from the Cadbury World visitor centre shop have gone on strike today threatening to disrupt the firm's entire operation if their pay demands are not met.

The 10 employees who sell the firm's famous chocolate next to its Bournville factory in Birmingham picketed the entrance to the site following a two-year deadlock over wages.

They are demanding parity with colleagues who run a similar shop in the adjacent factory, claiming staff there earn £2 an hour more.

Today's one-day industrial action is the first of three planned during this month.

But Transport and General Workers Union shop steward John Jordan warned of wider disruption to Cadbury's operation if the dispute continued.

The striking employees, nearly all of them women, picketed the entrance to the visitor centre holding placards reading: "Pay up! End the unfairness."

Staff working late

Deputy shop steward Linda Smith said most of the employees had worked there since it opened in 1990.

She claimed the current pay deal was unfair because staff had to work until 7pm during school holidays and cover bank holidays, which their factory colleagues did not.

"We really didn't want it to come to this, but this has been going on for two years and we had no alternative because the company didn't want to negotiate," Mrs Smith said.

"I just hope they see sense because we have been treated unfairly."

Cadbury spokesman Tony Billsborough told BBC WM: "I think it is simply not appropriate to compare the pay of Cadbury World staff with those within our factory."

"Cadbury World is actually a stand-alone operation. If you benchmark it against other leisure venues in the region, the staff here are actually some of the highest rewarded."

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