Pickle and vinegar shortages threat

Pickle and vinegar shortages loom as Mizkan Euro workers announce strikes over pay cut

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Branston and Sarsons among big-name brands that could be missing from supermarket shelves.

The UK is facing a shortage of pickles and vinegar as workers at Mizkan Euro in Middleton, Rochdale, announce strike action following a derisory pay offer.

The 50-plus workers who are members of Unite produce well-known brands including Branston Pickle, Sarsons Vinegar and Haywards Pickled Vegetables.

The company’s customers include all the major supermarkets, with both ASDA and Sainsbury’s being particularly reliant on its products.

The workers recorded an 81 per cent vote in favour of strike action, having rejected a pay increase of five per cent. Unite says this would be a substantial real terms pay cut, with the real inflation rate (RPI) currently standing at 12.3 per cent. Workers are paid as little as £11.50 an hour.

Last year, Mizkan Euro recorded a gross profit of £24 million on a turnover of £98 million.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Here we have another employer, Mizkan, who can afford to pay fairly but is refusing to do so.

“Our members are critical to the success of this business, as well as to brands like Branston and Sarsons. They deserve to be paid a decent rate for the job but instead they’re being told to accept a substantial pay cut. This is just not acceptable.

“Unite will be giving its members at Mizkan Euro its complete support.”

The initial strike action will begin at 6am on Tuesday 18 October and ends at 05:59 on Thursday 20 October. Further industrial action has been called for Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 October.

Mizkan Euro is the European subsidiary of Mizkan Group, the largest sushi seasoning company in the world.

Unite regional officer Andrena Clarke added, “Strike action will inevitably lead to shortages of some of the UK’s favourite pickles and vinegars but this dispute is entirely of Mizkan’s own making. The company has been given every opportunity to make a pay offer that meets the expectations of Unite’s members but has failed to do so.”

By Barckley Sumner

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